chapter  1
20 Pages

Pioneering Chinese studies in the era before Chinese language curriculum existed in American academia

WithPaul S. Ropp

This chapter examines how some of the key pioneers in Chinese studies in the US came to acquire their varying degrees of proficiency in the Chinese language. It discusses the pioneers, born between 1905 and 1909, who came to Chinese studies through their college and graduate studies, and went to China specifically to study the Chinese language and other fields such as history, archaeology, political science, and so forth. Most of the first Sinologists in the US came from missionary background. These were men who grew up in China, partially raised by Chinese servants and with Chinese children as playmates. Those from missionary background laid the foundation for the development of Chinese studies in America, but those born after 1905, who came to the study of China from their interest in academia, were the ones who built the institutional framework for Chinese studies in American colleges and universities.