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Still Together After 20 Years: Meet UPenn Librarian & Professor, Dr. Brian Vivier

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Philadelphian Dr. Brian Vivier is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Chinese Studies and the Chinese Studies Librarian at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). His specialization is Song Dynasty studies and the cultural exchanges between the Song Dynasty and neighboring peoples.

Almost two decades ago, Brian joined NTU’s International Chinese Language Program to study Mandarin. In 2012, he was invited by Professor Ya-Hwei Hsu to work as a visiting scholar at the Department of History. Now, he has returned to NTU, this time as an international scholar supported by the Fulbright Program on the strength of Hsu’s invitation.

Brian holds a master’s degree in East Asian Studies and a PhD in History from Yale University and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Southern Connecticut State University. He currently serves as the Coordinator of Area Studies and the Chinese Studies Librarian at the University of Pennsylvania and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at UPenn.

Unlike his peers, Brian has been deeply interested in the Song Dynasty—a period of social reforms and the golden age of China’s economy, technology, and culture. After conducting research for years on Song Dynasty’s trade network, Brian began to examine the flow of information in the region and analyze how the dissemination of information and knowledge during the time shaped the perception of China and Inner Asia.

The bountiful Chinese studies resources lure Brian back to Taiwan nearly every year, even after he began to work at UPenn. Now, he spends much of his time speaking with colleagues, searching for books at Lexis Book Company, and observing how NTU Library digitizes rare ancient books and media collections. Recently, he has made a foray into learning Taiwanese, spurred by his passion for Taiwan!

“Twenty years ago, Taipei 101 was not yet finished, construction on the HSR had only just begun, and Taipei’s MRT system had just three lines,” recalls Brian. Every time Brian visits Taiwan he witnesses new changes, "This innovative spirit inspires my research and encourages me to build deeper connections with NTU," said Brian.

UPenn Librarian and Professor Dr. Brian Vivier.