Li Liu (2009) Academic Freedom, Political Correctness, and Early Civilization in Chinese Archaeology: The Debate on Xia-Erlitou Relations. Antiquity 83:831-843.
The issue at hand is the perhaps legendary earliest dynasty, the Xia. Did it exist, and can it be associated with the Erlitou archaeological culture? Early written accounts that mention Xia as a pre-Shang polity have been questioned by many historians as biased and inaccurate. Nevertheless, a good number of scholars and others—mostly in
The article by Li Liu describes a survey of two groups of archaeologists: a “
More members of the
This conclusion is not warranted. No scholar is going to admit that their views are determined more by politics than by evidence. Even the most absurdly politically biased interpretations are not seen as such by their holders. Scholars will almost always insist that their opinions are empirically based. Issues of bias cannot be investigated by asking people whether they are biased. No one will admit to this; the very idea is absurd. This survey and its results are interesting, but it strains credulity to assert that bias does not play a role in thee views reported.