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U.S.- China Educational Exchange

State, Society, and Intercultural Relations, 1905-1950

Hongshan Li

Publication Year: 2008

U.S.-China relations became increasingly important and complex in the twentieth century. While economic, political, and military interactions all grew over time, the most dramatic expansion took place in educational exchange, turning it into the strongest tie between the two nations. By the end of the 1940s, tens of thousands of Chinese and American students and scholars had crisscrossed the Pacific, leaving indelible marks on both societies. Although all exchange programs were terminated during the Cold War, the two nations reemerged as top partners within a decade after the reestablishment of diplomatic relations. Approaching U.S.-China relations from a unique and usually overlooked perspective, Hongshan Li reveals that both the drastic expansion and complete termination of educational ties between the two nations in the first half of the twentieth century were largely the results of direct and deep intervention from the American and Chinese governments. Benefiting from government support and collaboration, educational exchange succeeded in diffusing knowledge and improving mutual understanding between the two peoples across the divide of civilizations. However, the visible hand of government also proved to be most destructive to the development of healthy intercultural relations when educational interactions were treated merely as an instrument for crisis management.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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pp. v

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pp. vii-viii

The completion of this book has finally given me an opportunity to express my gratitude to at least some individuals and institutions that have provided invaluable assistance at different stages of this project. First of all, I want to thank...

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Introduction: Educational Exchange and the Visible Hand

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pp. 1-6

The most striking phenomenon in the relations between the United States and China in the twentieth century was the emergence of educational exchange as the strongest tie despite sharp differences in their cultural, political, and economic systems. Originating as part of American missionary enterprise in China, educational exchange between the two nations drastically expanded...

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Chapter 1: Emerging as Facilitator

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pp. 7-33

The arrival of the Empress of China in Huangpu (Whampoa), an anchorage of Guangzhou (Canton), in August 1784, marked the beginning of U.S.-China relations. The early contact between the two peoples was limited mostly to commerce with little intervention from either the American or the Chinese government....

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Chapter 2: Tearing Down the Barriers

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pp. 34-59

Any substantial expansion in educational interactions between the United States and China depended very much on government since almost all major barriers were set up by the visible hand. The devastating defeats suffered by...

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Chapter 3: Qinghua: The First Joint Experiment

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pp. 60-91

The first Boxer Indemnity remission check was delivered by an American diplomat to Chinese officials in Beijing in January 1909, marking the beginning of the first joint experiment in educational exchanges conducted by the American...

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Chapter 4: From Central Administration to Party Control

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pp. 92-121

The expansion of U.S.-China educational interactions was shaped not only by the diplomatic relations between the two nations, but also by political and social forces within each country. In China, the development of education as well as educational exchanges with foreign countries was, to an even greater extent,...

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Chapter 5: Maintaining the Educational Front

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pp. 122-147

World War II created difficulties as well as opportunities for educational interactions between the United States and China. As allies, the two nations not only fought shoulder to shoulder against the common foe on the battlefield,...

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Chapter 6: From Expansion to Termination

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pp. 148-175

The end of World War II saw the beginning of an explosive expansion in educational exchanges between the United States and China. Over one thousand students and scores of scholars were sent by China to the United States every...

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Chapter 7: A Historical Perspective

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pp. 176-201

Educational exchanges between the United States and China experienced the most drastic expansion and abrupt termination, all within the first half of the twentieth century. As the linchpin of China’s modernization and the strongest..

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Epilogue: Restoring Educational Relations with the Visible Hand

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pp. 202-208

On June 23, 1978, Deng Xiaoping, the paramount Chinese leader, had a meeting with a few administrators from Qinghua University, trying to find ways to revive China’s higher education and reduce the gap between China and developed nations in science and technology. Fully aware of the shortage of experts...


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pp. 209-215


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pp. 217-252


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pp. 253-271


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pp. 273-284

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About the Author

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pp. 285

Hongshan Li is an associate professor of history at Kent State University Tuscarawas. He has published a number of articles, book chapters, and edited volumes on U.S.-China relations...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813543925
E-ISBN-10: 0813543924
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813541990
Print-ISBN-10: 0813541999

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2008