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Managing God's Higher Learning

U.S.-China Cultural Encounter and Canton Christian College (Lingnan University), 1888-1952

Dong Wang

Managing GodOs Higher Learning offers a distinct empirical study of Lingnan University and addresses issues of adaptation and integration. Author, Dong Wang, demonstrates that many aspects of Lingnan _ governance, links with the local society, financial management, education for women _ have either never been made the subject of scholarly discussion or are different from what we think we know about U.S.-China relations in the past. As the first co-educational institution of higher learning in China, Lingnan made monumental strides in the management of programs for women, a fact which confounds the assumptions made by China historians. The author argues that LingnanOs growth, resilience and success can partly be accounted for by entrepreneurial operations. Wang also contends that Lingnan found ways to adapt and 'layer' a Christian presence at a time when the nationalization and secularization of higher education was making rapid headway. Based on information from archives located across the Pacific, this book will appeal to scholars of Chinese history as well as those interested in Sino-American relations. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 226Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-1935-8 • Hardback • June 2007 • $99.00 • (£65.00)
978-0-7391-1936-5 • Paperback • May 2007 • $41.99 • (£27.95)
978-0-7391-5747-3 • eBook • June 2007 • $38.99 • (£24.95)
Dong Wang is chair professor of contemporary Chinese history and director of the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku in Finland.She is the author of ChinaOs Unequal Treaties: Narrating National History (Lexington Books, 2005), among other publications. Her two ongoing book projects examine the history of United States-China relations and the social transformation of Luoyang, China from antiquity to the present, respectively.
Chapter 1 The Setting: Honglok, Guangzhou, and Canton Christian College (Lingnan University)
Chapter 2 Cultural Migration: Lingnan as a Foreign and Local Institution
Chapter 3 Financing God's Higher Education: Management and Governance
Chapter 4 The Advance to Higher Education: Women's Education, Power and Modernization
Chapter 5 From Lingnan to Pomona: Charles K. Edmunds and His Chinese-American Career
Chapter 6 Conclusion: Memories and Legacies of Lingnan
Professor Wang's rich study is not an institutional history of the old style but a theoretically informed reassessment. Canton Christian College, originally an example of that uniquely American institution, the liberal arts college, in a generation became Lingnan University, a multifaceted research institution embedded in the emerging Chinese nation. Wang concludes that this was not 'cultural imperialism' but a multi-cultural and Trans-Pacific enterprise which sets an example for NGOs in China today.
Charles W. Hayford, visiting scholar, Department of History, Northwestern University; editor, Journal of American-East Asian Relations

Whereas previous studies of Christian colleges in China have stressed the confrontational aspects of this Sino-foreign encounter, Professor Dong Wang's monograph highlights transnational collaboration and mutual cultural understanding at Canton Christian College (later called Lingnan University). The author demonstrates effectively that Lingnan, with its distinctive interdenominational Christian atmosphere, encouraged Chinese involvement in shaping a complex educational enterprise. As an important contribution to the history of Sino-American interaction, Wang pays particular attention to the business management of the college. In contrast to previous research concerning Christian colleges in China, she argues that southern Chinese entrepreneurial expertise played a significant role in the management and governance of the college. Moreover, this important work argues convincingly that a substantial proportion of the funding of the institutional structures of this joint Sino-American venture came from Chinese donors.
R. G. Tiedemann, Centre for the Study of Christianity in China, King's College London

[Wang's] work is based on extensive research in libraries and archives on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, utilizing Chinese and English language sources. . . . She is to be commended for this publication, and it is to be hoped that not only will this work receive a wide readership but the issues presented by it will also encourage other scholars to pursue similar understudied themes.
Jeremy Clark, Boston College; The China Journal

Wang's attention to the mutual interactions between nations and local places is to be applauded, as is her attention to the exceptional nature of Canton Christian College among the Christian colleges as a truly Sino-American venture in funding, staffing and student body, from the beginning.
David Luesink; Pacific Affairs

Dong Wang takes a new look at Canton Christian College (Lingnan) and finds that it was a Sino-American venture from its inception. The institution was deeply rooted in the community and simultaneously international in its outreach. As a leader in women's higher education, Canton Christian College took pride in graduating the first Chinese woman to receive a B.A. degree from a coeducational college in China. A welcome addition to the continuing story of the Chinese Christian colleges.
Jessie G. Lutz, emeritus professor of history, Rutgers University, New Jersey

Managing God's Higher Learning has filled a gap in the study of Christian institutions of higher education in China by providing new archival evidence and offering a different perspective. The author's arguments regarding cultural encounters may lead to thoughtful discussions on how a receiving culture can benefit from this encounter.
China Review International