Chinese–American relations are often viewed through the prism of power rivalry and civilization clash. But China and America’s shared history is much more than a catalog of conflicts. Using culture rather than politics or economics as a reference point, Xu Guoqi highlights significant yet neglected cultural exchanges in which China and America have contributed to each other’s national development, building the foundation of what Zhou Enlai called a relationship of “equality and mutual benefit.”
Xu begins with the story of Anson Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln’s ambassador to China, and the 120 Chinese students he played a crucial role in bringing to America, inaugurating a program of Chinese international study that continues today. Such educational crosscurrents moved both ways, as is evident in Xu’s profile of the remarkable Ge Kunhua, the Chinese poet who helped spearhead Chinese language teaching in Boston in the 1870s. Xu examines the contributions of two American scholars to Chinese political and educational reform in the twentieth century: the law professor Frank Goodnow, who took part in making the Yuan Shikai government’s constitution; and the philosopher John Dewey, who helped promote Chinese modernization as a visiting scholar at Peking University and elsewhere. Xu also shows that it was Americans who first introduced to China the modern Olympic movement, and that China has used sports ever since to showcase its rise as a global power. These surprising shared traditions between two nations, Xu argues, provide the best roadmap for the future of Sino–American relations.
This important book provides a fresh way to examine the shared histories of the U.S. and China and will influence scholars for years to come.
The history of Chinese–American relations is the history of people, not just of high politics and diplomacy. Ours has been a relationship defined largely by the private spheres of Chinese who came to America and Americans who went to China. They went and came as advisers; as students and teachers, as workers, as intellectuals, and as entrepreneurs. And they still do. In this volume of elegant essays on the shared history of Chinese and Americans over the past two centuries, Xu Guoqi retells the sojourns of men well known in their time, but not in ours: of generations of cultural ambassadors who framed the foundation of the Chinese–American relationship we have inherited. Any serious student of U.S.–China relations will want to read this book.
With the support of extensive, highly original, and reliable research, Xu Guoqi has written a truly pathbreaking book, one with the scholarly and intellectual power to redefine some key dimensions of studies on international history in general and Chinese–American relations in particular. It is a book that concentrates on people rather than on the state, government, and various institutions; it presents the important and enlightening “shared history” thesis concerning encounters between the Chinese and the Americans; and without burdening readers with complicated, obscure, or meaningless jargon, it tells a series of fascinating stories.
- 352 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
- Foreword by Akira Iriye
From this author
Sorry, there was an error adding the item to your shopping bag.
Sorry, your session has expired. Please refresh your browser's tab.