Jonathan Spence


Jonathan Spence

Jonathan D. Spence (Chinese name: zh-stp|s=史景迁|t=史景遷|p=Shǐ Jǐngqiān, August 11, 1936– ) is a British-born historian and public intellectual specializing in Chinese history. He has been Sterling Professor of History at Yale University since 1993. His most famous book is "The Search for Modern China", which has become one of the standard texts on the last several hundred years of Chinese history. A prolific author, reviewer, and essayist, he has written a dozen books on China. His research takes him to many Chinese universities.

In May and June 2008 he gave the 60th anniversary Reith Lectures, broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Spence's major interest is modern China, and especially its relations with the West [Roberts, Priscilla "Spence, Jonathan D." pages 1136-1137 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing" edited by Kelly Boyd, Volume 2, London:Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1999 page 1136.] . A notable recurring theme in Spence's work is the use of biographies to examine the wider cultural history of China [Roberts, Priscilla "Spence, Jonathan D." pages 1136-1137 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing" edited by Kelly Boyd, Volume 2, London:Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1999 page 1136.] . Another common theme to Spence's work is his interests in efforts on the part of both Westerners and Chinese to Westernize China, and why such efforts have failed [Roberts, Priscilla "Spence, Jonathan D." pages 1136-1137 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing" edited by Kelly Boyd, Volume 2, London:Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1999 page 1136.] .

Education

Spence was educated at Winchester College, a famous English independent school for boys, and at Clare College at the University of Cambridge. He holds a bachelor's degree from Cambridge and master's and doctoral degrees from Yale University.

History

Recognized as one of the foremost scholars of Chinese civilization from the 16th century to the present, Spence has written extensively on the role of history in shaping modern China. His recent works include a biography of Mao Zedong and "Treason by the Book", exploring an intriguing episode of 18th-century history. Spence teaches one of the most popular undergraduate classes at Yale on the history of Modern China 1600-2007. The class is offered every other year during the spring semester and is a perennial favorite among history majors and non-history majors alike.Fact|date=June 2008Jonathan Spence was president of the American Historical Association for the 2004-2005 term.

Honors

Spence has received eight honorary degrees from various colleges in the United States as well as the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 2003 Professor Spence received an honorary degree from Oxford University. He was also invited to become a visiting professor at Peking University and an honorary professor at Nanjing University. Four years ago he was named CMG (Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George) on the Queen of England's Birthday Honours List, and in 2006 he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. In 1978 he received the William C. DeVane Medal of the Yale Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa; in 1979, a Guggenheim Fellowship; in 1982, the Los Angeles Times History Prize; and in 1983, the Vursel Prize of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Professor Spence was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1985 and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1988, the same year he was appointed to the Council of Scholars at the Library of Congress. In 1993 he was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society and in 1997 was named a corresponding fellow of the British Academy.

Family

He lives in West Haven with his wife, Annping Chin (a Senior Lecturer in History at Yale who got her PhD in Classical Chinese Philosophy at Columbia). He has two sons from a previous marriage, Colin and Ian Spence, and two stepchildren, Yar Woo and Mei Chin.

Endnotes

References

*Mazlish, Bruce "The Question of Hu" pages 143-152 from "History and Theory", Volume 31, 1992.
*Mirsky, Jonathan Review of "Chinese Roundabout" pages 51-53 from "The New York Review of Books", Volume 39, Issue #17, November 5, 1992.
*Nathan, Andrew J. "A Culture of Cruelty: Review of "The Search for Modern China" pages 30-34 from "The New Republic", Volume 203, July 30, 1990.
*Roberts, Priscilla "Spence, Jonathan D." pages 1136-1137 from "The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing" edited by Kelly Boyd, Volume 2, London:Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1999 ISBN 1-884964-33-8.

Books

*"The Search for Modern China"
*"Emperor of China: Self-Portrait of K'ang-Hsi" (1974)
*"The Death of Woman Wang" (1978)
*"To Change China: Western Advisers in China, 1620-1960 (1980)
*"The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci" (1984)
*"The Question of Hu" (1987)
*"Chinese Roundabout: Essays on History and Culture"
*"The Gate of Heavenly Peace: The Chinese and Their Revolution 1895-1980"
*"The Chan's Great Continent: China in Western Minds"
*"God's Chinese Son" (1996), about the Taiping Rebellion
*"Mao Zedong" (1999)
*"Return to Dragon Mountain: Memories of a Late Ming Man" (2007) Viking, 332 pages. ISBN 978-0-670-06357-4

External links

* [http://www.historians.org/info/AHA_History/spencebio.cfm Biography]
* [http://thepolitic.org/content/view/50/37/ The Search for Modern China Continues]
* [http://www.asiaing.com/the-art-of-history-a-conversation-with-jonathan-spence.html The Art of History: A Conversation with Jonathan Spence]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2008/ 2008 Reith Lectures]
* [http://www.nybooks.com/authors/1633 Spence archive] from "The New York Review of Books"


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