Synopses & Reviews
The Chinese Educational Mission was one of the earliest efforts at educational modernization in China. As part of the Self-Strengthening Movement, the Qing government sent 120 students to New England to live and study for a decade, before they were abruptly summoned home to China in 1881. This book, based upon extensive research in local archives and newspapers, focuses on the experiences of the students during their nine-year stay in the United States.
Historians of modern China will find this book highly relevant because of its detailed account of one of the major projects of the Self-Strengthening Movement. To date, there are at most two credible studies in English and Chinese on the Chinese Educational Mission; both are deficient in source citation and tend to dwell on the students' experiences after their return to China rather than during their stay in America.
This volume will also appeal to specialists in Asian-American studies, for its comparing and contrasting the experiences of the Chinese students with those of other Chinese in the United States during a period of rising anti-Chinese sentiment, which culminated in the enactment of Chinese Exclusion in 1882. This book offers a slightly different perspective than most other works on the nature of the anti-Chinese movement, which may have been more class-based rather than race-based.
The compare and contrast of students from China with those from Japan, which also sent large numbers of students to New England at roughly the same period of time, will be of interest to East Asian comparative historians as well.
Edward J. M. Rhoads is a professor emeretus in history at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of China's Republican Revolution: The Case of Kwangtung, 1895-1913 and Manchus and Han: Ethnic Relations and Political Power in Late Qing and Early Republican China, 1861-1928.
"Rhoads has meticulously constructed the individual and collective histories of the 120 young men and boys sent by a beleaguered late Qing government to live and acquire English and Western knowledge in white New England families, schools and universities. As the vanguard of legions of Chinese students who have studied in the U.S. since, and as contemporaries of the far more numerous Chinese coolies whose paths they never crossed, this compelling study adds a surprising new chapter to early Asian American history." - Evelyn Hu-DeHart, Professor of History and Ethnic Studies; Director, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, Brown University
The book contrasts the experiences of the Chinese Educational Mission students with those of other Chinese in the United States during a period of anti-Chinese sentiment, which was to culminate in the enactment of Chinese Exclusion in 1882.