Historical Lecture Series Features China Expert April 11-12

April 3, 1996

Best-selling author and preeminent Western literary historian of China Dr. Jonathan D. Spence will be the guest speaker at the 18th annual Edmondson Historical Lectures Thursday and Friday, April 11-12, in Recital Hall No. II of Waco Hall.

Spence, who is the Sterling Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies Council on East Asian Studies at Yale University, will present two lectures under the theme "The Taiping Vision of a Christian China (1836-1864)."

The first lecture, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, is titled "Planning the Earthly Paradise." The second lecture, set for 1 p.m. Friday, will be "Ruling the Earthly Paradise."

Author of the best-selling The Search for Modern China, Spence has recently published a new book God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan, which has been widely praised by critics.

In reviewing his latest work, The Wall Street Journal reported that "Spence brings to life the confusion, chaos and pervasive cruelty of a disintegrating China," and Publishers Weekly said, "The strange, compelling tale of the mid-19th century Taiping Rebellion...Spence recounts this extraordinary event with verve, offering sharp insights into the political dangers of religious fanaticism."

A native of England, Spence received his master's and doctorate from Yale before joining the faculty in 1965. Spence's dissertation at Yale won the John Adison Porter Prize and was published by the Yale University Press under the title Ts'ao Yin and the K'and-hsi Emperor: Bondservant and Master.

The Charles Edmondson Historical Lectures are made possible by an endowment established by Dr. E. Bud Edmondson to honor his father, Charles S.B. Edmondson.

All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. David Hendon, professor of history and chair of the Edmondson Committee, at 755-2667.

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