/ Kenneth G. Lieberthan and Richard H. Rogel Center for Chinese Studies

    Kenneth G. Lieberthan and Richard H. Rogel Center for Chinese Studies (CCS) (1975)

    The Center for Chinese Studies was established by action of the Regents in 1961 to coordinate a program of graduate training and research about China. In succeeding years, with the support of generous grants from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Office of Education, the University of Michigan developed into one of the world’s two or three leading institutions for the study of China.

    Beginning in the 1930s, the University offered instruction in the Chinese language and courses on the Chinese economy and the art of China. During this period, the contributions of Charles F. Remer to the study of the Chinese economy and those of James M. Plumer, an outstanding authority on Chinese ceramic art, were known throughout the world. In the war years that followed, there were few instructional offerings on China. Since 1949, however, there has been a steady growth of Chinese studies at the University. This development was made possible by the organization of the Department of Far Eastern Languages and Literatures, the establishment of a Far Eastern Studies Program, the receipt of the Freer Fund for the Study of Oriental Art, and the establishment of the Center for Chinese Studies. Teaching staff in Chinese language, literature, and history of thought, were provided through the Department of Far Eastern Languages and Literatures. The Far Eastern Studies Program made it possible for undergraduate and graduate students to pursue an interdisciplinary course of studies related to one of the major culture areas and nations of East Asia. The will of the late Charles L. Freer established a fund enabling oriental art experts from the University to engage in research relating to the Freer collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and to publish their results. Under the terms of the contract signed between the University and the Freer Gallery in 1949, the University’s professors of Chinese and Islamic art were to hold concurrent posts of research fellows at the Smithsonian Institution, while their counterparts at the Freer were to be appointed research professors at the University. The Freer bequest also provided funds for library acquisitions and for a small number of graduate student fellowships in oriental art.

    In 1949, in addition to Professors Remer and Plumer, the University had on its faculty a part-time instructor who taught the Chinese language, and it possessed some 800 volumes in Chinese in its General Library. By 1960-61, the faculty of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts had grown to include six full-time persons engaged in teaching and research about China in the departments of Far Eastern Languages and Literatures, Art History, Sociology, and History. In the Asia Library there was an uneven but promising collection of 30,000 volumes in the Chinese language. During the fall of 1960, an National Defense Education Act China-Japan language and area center began to operate at the University. The really significant growth of the Chinese studies program to worldwide stature has occurred since 1961, when the Center for Chinese Studies was established as a separate unit.

    From a tiny handful of individual scholars in 1960-61, the number of Michigan faculty members who teach and conduct research about China has grown to a total of twenty-seven in the following departments and schools: Anthropology, 1; Economics, 2; Far Eastern Languages and Literatures, 9; Geography, 1; History, 3; History of Art, 2; Philosophy, 1; Political Science, 3; Sociology, 1; Residential College, 2; Education, 1; and Law, 1. The major disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities are all represented by scholars who integrate their respective disciplines with a primary China-related research interest. The faculty associates of the Center (who are listed below as of 1974-75) have been a very stable group with little turn-over, an indication of the strength of Michigan’s program and the wealth of its research facilities.

    Kenneth G. Lieberthan and Richard H. Rogel Center for Chinese Studies (CCS) Faculty (1975)

    Center for Chinese Studies Faculty 1974-1975

    • Norma Diamond Associate Professor of Anthropology
    • Robert Dernberger Professor of Economics
    • Alexander Eckstein Professor of Economics
    • James Crump Professor of Chinese
    • James Dew Associate Professor of Chinese
    • Kenneth DeWoskin Assistant Professor of Chinese
    • Luis Gomez Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies
    • Charles Hucker Professor of Chinese, Professor of History
    • Shuen-fu Lin Assistant Professor of Chinese
    • Ching-heng Ma Lecturer in Chinese
    • Harriet Mills Professor of Chinese
    • Hilda Ruey Lecturer in Chinese
    • Rhoads Murphey Professor of Geography
    • Chun-shu Chang Professor of History
    • Albert Feuerwerker Professor of History
    • Ernest Young Professor of History
    • Richard Edwards Professor of Far Eastern Art
    • Virginia Kane Associate Professor of Far Eastern Art
    • Donald Munro Professor of Philosophy
    • Michel Oksenberg Associate Professor of Political Science
    • Richard Solomon Associate Professor of Political Science
    • Allen Whiting Professor of Political Science
    • Martin Whyte Assistant Professor of Sociology
    • Yi-tsi Feuerwerker Lecturer, Residential College
    • Marilyn Young Associate Professor, Residential College
    • Cho-yee To Associate Professor of Education
    • Whitmore Gray Professor of Law

    The Center has served as the sponsor and coordinator of extensive research activities by graduate students, faculty, and visiting scholars. Between 1967 and 1975, 48 postdoctoral scholars each spent six months to a year or more in association with the Center’s research programs. These scholars include not only younger Americans of great promise, but also senior and junior researchers from many foreign countries, including Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, France, Israel, the Soviet Union, and Canada.

    Research projects undertaken by the Center have focused on such areas as China’s modern economy, colloquial Chinese literature, the politics of the People’s Republic of China, Chinese painting, imperial Chinese political institutions, modern Chinese history, the family in rural China, Chinese foreign policy, and the ideology of the People’s Republic.

    Some of the Center’s research findings have appeared in the Michigan Studies on China series, which was published first through the University of California Press and later by the University of Michigan Press. Through 1975, eight volumes were published in this series. The Center itself publishes two monograph series: Michigan Papers in Chinese Studies, of which twenty-three volumes appeared through 1975; and Michigan Abstracts of Chinese and Japanese Works on Chinese History, of which four volumes had been published by 1975. Until 1974, a Center for Chinese Studies Reprint series was also distributed. The research that appears in these publications has been based in part on fieldwork in East Asia supported by the Center and, to a very large extent, on the collection of Chinese-language materials in the Asia Library of the University of Michigan. By 1975, the 30,000 volumes of Chinese-language materials of 1960 had grown to 162,530 volumes and microfilm reels, thus constituting one of the United States’ outstanding collections for research on China in the social sciences and humanities. This collection, which is serviced by a staff of five librarians and four nonprofessionals, is constantly being augmented by the acquisition of approximately 10,000 new volumes each year.

    The Center for Chinese Studies, together with the Center for Japanese Studies and the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, has administrative responsibility for the M.A. program in Asian studies. From 1961 to 1975, 137 students were awarded master’s degrees in Asian studies with a speciality on China. During the same period 61 Ph.D. degrees were awarded to students who were enrolled in the various disciplinary departments of the University and whose field of specialization was China. In 1974-1975, 54 graduate students were enrolled in M.A. programs and 74 in Ph.D. programs with a special interest in the Chinese area; 126 courses on China were offered by the University, with 2,484 undergraduate students and 985 graduate students enrolled.

    In addition to research and instructional activities, the Center maintains an active program of research colloquia, lectures, informal “bag lunches”, student publications, film series, and the like, all of which serve to tie together the intellectual and social interests of a large community of faculty, visiting scholars, and graduate students. Faculty associates of the Center are actively involved in professional activities at the national level through such organizations as the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Committee on Scholarly Communications with the People’s Republic of China of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the Association for Asian Studies, and the several national professional academic organizations. Faculty associates of the Center appear regularly on television and radio programs, write for the press and popular journals, and serve as consultants to United States government agencies and private organizations on contemporary developments in China.

    Throughout the period 1961-1975, the Center and its faculty associates maintained active ties with their academic colleagues and organizations in Hong Kong and Taiwan. As the period grew to a close, several members of the Center were actively involved in developing the first academic contacts with the People’s Republic of China.

    Albert Feuerwerker, Professor of History, served as director of the Center from 1961 to 1967; the late Alexander Eckstein, Professor of Economics, was director from 1967 to 1969; Rhoads Murphey, Professor of Geography, held that office from 1969 to 1972; and Professor Feuerwerker has again served as director of the Center since 1972.

    The Center’s administrative offices are located in Lane Hall, but its research offices are located in Corner House on Thayer Street. Lane Hall serves as a central meeting point for faculty, staff, and students of Chinese studies and is the home of a busy program of extracurricular activities.