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in· early October 1979 at S.U.N.Y. -Buffalo and which were subsequently published in the Journal .Q!. Asian Affairs vol. 5 no. 1 & 2 (Spring and Fall, 1980). 2. Benjamin Nelson, "Sciences and Civilizations, 1 East' and 'West'" in Boston Studies .!!!, ~ Philosophy ~ Science, vol. XI (1974) PP• 445-491. ADVENTURES IN CHINA RESEARCH John Israel. Uhiversity of Virginia. Getting There ~ ~ ~ ~ In 1978 when, as a group escort, I first visited the People's Republic of China, I was tempted to write up my experience under the title, "My Seven China Trips," in honor of the six that had aborted over the previous five years for reasons ranging from politics to earthquakes. In 1979, when I was chosen to go to China as a "senior scholar" under an exChange program sponsored by the Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People1 s Republic of China (CSCPRC), I should have known that things would not move with all deliberate speed. ~~ research subject was Southwest Associated University (Xinan Lianda) - a wartime amalgamation of Beida, Qinghua, 7 and Nankai located in Kunming from 1938 to 1946. My plan was to spend eight months in China beginning in December 1979: four in Beijing seeking library and archival materials and interviewing some of the large Lianda contingent clustered in the capital; and four in Kunming, a city whose historical resources were virtually unknow.n but whose atmosphere I had to breathe if my book were to come to life. I received notice of my grant in April. Two months later I was passing through Beijing with a tour group when I got word that the grant was contingent. upon my finding "host organizations" to feed, house, and care for me during my residence in Beijing and Kunming. I lea.:rned simultaneously that Beijing University , a natural candidate for such an assignment, had declined to accept the honor of m:y company. Through friends in Beijing, I managed to get myself introduced to two professors at Renmin Daxue -- People's University -- with whom I h.a4 a pleasant two-hour chat. On the strength of that tenuous contact, I prepared to apply to Ren Da.. Arriving home, I dashed off a letter to Ren Da1 s president, 91-year-old litterateur Cheng Fangwu, whose name the CSCPRC had unearthed from a U.s. government directory. As weeks passed without word, I pictured a nearsighted nonagenarian fumbling through an enormous pile of correspondence, with my letter on the bottom. ~tr hopes were further dampened by a New York Times report that Ren Da students had gone on strike to expel unfuoTthe People's Liberation Army that had occupied their campus since the Cultural Revolution. Saddled with soldiers, its ow.n undergraduates demonstrating in the streets, Ren Da was unlikely to welcome the prospect of a foreign guest. My choice of host organization in Kunming was Kunming Teachers College, the lineal descendent of Lianda1 s teachers college. I finally managed to obtain the name of the college president .fro~ an American acquaintance in the 8 foreign language department. I wrote immediately. This letter, like the one to Cheng Fangwu., was followed by months of silence. Late in !~ovember, a delegation from the CSCPRC visited China. Among the items on its agenda was what was coming to be known as "the Israel case." I reached an early delegation returnee on December 7 (fateful date) to learn that Kunming was out of the question but that there were possibilities in Beijing- if only I would rewrite rrry research proposal. A few days later, I received word from another delegate: Beijing was doubtful but Kunming was hopeful. Just before Christmas a telegram arrived from Kunming: Kmuning Teachers College had agreed to act as my host organization for four months beginning in April. April! I had already taken leave without pay from my post at the University of Virginia, on the assumption that the equivalent of my salary - eight months of "family support allowance" - would be forthcoming under te:rms of my grant. After my last full paycheck on January 1, I could see the wolves of "sp%ing hunger" - scourge of Chinese peasants and unemployed academics circling outside our door. Salvation came...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1940-5065
Print ISSN
1521-5385
Pages
pp. 7-14
Launched on MUSE
2021-05-25
Open Access
No
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