URI Honors Colloquium, China Rising, kicks off Sept.18

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Foremost China historian to speak

KINGSTON, R.I. –September 12, 2007–The University of Rhode Island kicks off its annual Honors Colloquium, China Rising, on Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Room 271 of the Chafee Social Science Center, 10 Chafee Road, Kingston. Zheng Zeguang, deputy chief of mission of the Embassy of China in the United States will give opening greetings.

Jonathan Spence, the Sterling Professor of History at Yale University and one of the foremost historians of China, will be the featured speaker. The talk is free and open to the public. Spence’s lecture will explore how China got to where it is today and how the past influences its current options.

“Professor Spence is a spellbinding speaker and writer, and has a marvelous ability to make history come alive through ordinary people,” said Tim George, URI associate professor of history, who coordinates the series with Yan Ma, a professor in URI’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. “As we begin our semester-long exploration of contemporary China, Spence will remind us how heavily China’s history weighs on its present and how important it is to understand how the world looks through the eyes of China.

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 book, The Search for Modern China, is one of the standard texts on the last several hundred years of Chinese history. He is the author of numerous books, including a new book this month, Return to Dragon Mountain: Memories of a Late Ming Man. There will be a book signing after his talk.

Spence, winner of numerous awards including MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, has been honored many times as a scholar and a teacher, winning The Los Angeles Times History Prize in 1982 and the Vursel Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1985. In 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.

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

Major sponsors of the colloquium are the Mark Ross ‘64 and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment, the Tom Silvia ’83 and Shannon Chandley ’83 Honors Colloquium Endowment, URI’s Honors Program, Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Confucius Institute at URI, College of Business Administration, College of Engineering, and the Division of University Advancement.

For more information call Deb Gardiner at 401-874-2381. For the most up-to-date detailed scehdule of events, go to www.uri.edu/hc.