A New Day Is Upon Us: Building the Field of Chinese Studies
On September 4, 2019, Professor Pauline Yu, President Emeritus of the American Council of Learned Scholars (ACLS), delivered the final lecture in the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation’s 30th Anniversary Lecture Series, titled “A New Day Is Upon Us: Building the Field of Chinese Studies.” Her lecture traced the foundations of China Studies in North America from the late-nineteenth century to today. In particular, she argued against the commonly held assumption that Area Studies developed out of a Cold War mentality in the wake of World War II, and instead demonstrated how such a concept has already emerged as early as the turn of the twentieth century. Yu also outlined the formations and contributions of funds and research centers that focus on China and East Asia, from Luce and Ford Foundations to the ACLS and, as of 1989, the CCK Foundation. The lecture was presented to a full room of distinguished scholars and guests, including Stephen Owen, Wai-yee Lee, Mark Elliott, Karen Thornber, and Peter Bol. The discussion that followed was lively and largely focused on the issue of how to weather the current political climate and confrontational atmosphere between China and the US. The event was co-sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University.