Memories of a Late Ming Man


NEW YORK, Sept. 27, 2007 - Return to Dragon Mountain: Memories of a Late Ming Man with Jonathan Spence in discussion with Ann-Ping Chin at Asia Society's Headquarters in New York. The panelists are introduced by Orville Schell, director of the Asia Society's Center on US - China Relations.

Historian Jonathan Spences's latest book visits the end of the Ming dynasty through the eyes of an eminent scholar of that period.

Jonathan Spence

Professor Jonathan Spence teaches in the field of Chinese history from around 1600 to the present, and on Western images of China since the middle ages. His books include The Death of Woman Wang (1978); 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; and God's Chinese Son (1994). His research often takes him to many Chinese Universities.

Jonathan Spence is president of the American Historical Association for the 2004-2005 term. 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 critically acclaimed The Search for Modern China has become one of the standard texts on the last several hundred years of Chinese history. His recent works include a biography of Mao Zedong and Treason by the Book, exploring an intriguing episode of 18th-century history.

A native of England, Spence holds a bachelor's degree from Cambridge University and master's and doctoral degrees from Yale. He began teaching at Yale in 1965 and was named the Sterling Professor of History in 1993.

His many honors include the William C. DeVane Medal of the Yale Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 1978; the Los Angeles Times History Prize in 1982; and the Vursel Prize of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1983. Spence was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1985. He was a MacArthur Fellow in 1988, and that year was appointed to the Council of Scholars at the Library of Congress.

In June 2001, he was made a Companion of the Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, an honor given by the Queen of England for outstanding achievement.

Ann-Ping Chin

Annping Chin was born in Taiwan in 1950, to a mainland Chinese family that had moved there in 1948. She came with her family to Richmond, Virginia in 1962. She studied mathematics at Michigan State University and received her Ph.D. in Chinese Thought from Columbia University.

She has written three books: Children of China: Voices from Recent Years (Knopf, 1989), based on interviews with Chinese children living in the People's Republic of China; Tai Chen on Mencius (Yale University Press, 1990), a study of eighteenth century Chinese intellectual history; and most recently, Four Sisters of Hofei (Scribner, 2002), a history of China's last century through the lives of four highly educated and accomplished women. She has also co-authored, with Jonathan Spence, Chinese Century: A Photographic History of the Last Hundred Years (Random House, 1996).

She is currently writing a book on Confucius and his teachings. Her fields of study include Confucianism, Taoism, and the Chinese intellectual tradition. She was on the faculty at Wesleyan University and is currently teaching in the History Department at Yale University.

Orville Schell

Orville Schell was born in New York City in 1940, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University in Far Eastern History, was an exchange student at National Taiwan University in the 1960s, and did graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, in Chinese History where he earned a Ph.D (Abd). He has worked for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia, covered the war in Indochina as a journalist, and travelled widely in China.

He is also a contributor to such magazines as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Granta, Wired, Newsweek, Mother Jones, The China Quarterly, and The New York Review of Books.

Schell has been the recipient of several writing fellowships from the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center and is the winner of numerous awards, including the Harvard/Stanford Shorenstein Award for Asian Journalism, Overseas Press Club of America's Award for The Best Article on a Foreign Subject, a Mencken Award for the Best Feature and a Page One Award for the Best Investigative Story.

The author of fourtenn fourteen books, nine of them about China, a the contributor to numerous edited volumes, his most recent books are Virtual Tibet: Searching for Shangrila From the Himalayas To Hollywood, The China Reader: The Reform Years, and Mandate of Heaven: The Legacy of Tiananmen Square and the Next Generation of China's Leaders.

He has also served as a television commentator for several network news programs, has worked both as correspondent and a correspondent and consultant for a number PBS Frontline documentaries and been the correspondent for an Emmy award-winning program for a "60 minutes" segment.

Schell serves on the boards of Human Rights Watch, the Sundance Documentary Fund jury, and the Social Science Research Council. He is also a member of the Pacific Council, the Council on Foreign Relations and a regular participant in the World Economic Forum at Davos.

He was previously the Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and is now the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society.