Forums to address history of U.S.-China relations

March 18, 2015
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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Department of History and UW-Platteville’s Confucius Institute will co-host three open forums on the history of United States-China relations on Wednesday, April 1; Tuesday, April 14; and Monday, April 27, in Doudna Hall, UW-Platteville, from 6-7:30 p.m. The forums are free and open to all.

April 1: “Origins of Sino-American Relations,” 136 Doudna Hall, 6 p.m.
Dr. Eugene Tesdahl, assistant professor of history at UW-Platteville, will address the Empress of China, the first American ship to trade with China in 1784; Chinese immigration to America, including the gold rush; and the enduring Chinese American community despite the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Dr. Chengfa (Victor) Yu, Chinese instructor and assistant director of the Confucius Institute, will discuss American businessmen as pioneers of Sino-American commerce, American missionaries and Chinese students as backbones of Sino-American cultural exchanges and American diplomatic policy toward Empire China.

April 14: “Second Industrial Revolution” 116 Doudna Hall, 6 p.m.
Dr. David Krugler, professor of history at UW-Platteville, and Kunqun (Kathy) Zhang, Chinese instructor of the Confucius Institute, will discuss the second industrial revolution in the United States and the impact in China, from 1870-1914. Krugler will discuss how industrialization transformed the United States and increased American interest in establishing an economic foothold in China; Zhang will discuss the Chinese nationalists’ response to the military defeats and concessions to foreign forces during 1840-1911, focusing on their attempts of institutional reforms, development of military industries, wealth-creation to strengthen the country and the development of national industries and private industries.

April 27: “Transformations of the Trans-Pacific World after World War II: Cultural, Social and Economic Exchanges and Changes in the United States and People’s Republic of China,” 141 Doudna Hall, 6 p.m.
Dr. Joong-Jae Lee, associate professor of history at UW-Platteville, and Ran (Jennifer) Hao, Chinese instructor of the Confucius Institute, will discuss the post-World War II relationships between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, with an emphasis on the trans-Pacific exchanges of people, goods and ideas between the two countries. Hao will talk about the changes that took place in China and Lee will talk about the changes in an American context.

“The Confucius Institute continually strives to provide interesting, engaging, creative programming for its culture lecture series and this new, collaborative forum will be an excellent addition,” said Mei Reeder, director of the Confucius Institute. “We hope to pique students’ interests in modern China by exploring its century old history, and are confident that students, faculty, staff and community members will find this new experience a meaningful one.”

Reeder said that the new forum series was designed to explore the economic development of modern China through retrospection of the historical events of the past decades and century, show how the United States has impacted China from early last century through the present, and explain how modern China’s development is tied to the United States with its people and culture.

“Each forum has its own unique perspective,” said Reeder. “The forums are intended to open up the door for those who have not had opportunities to inspect the histories of these two countries. I think people will find that the history of the two nations is overlapped and intertwined.”

Reeder said that if other faculty are interested in hosting Sino-American forums, they may contact her at 608-342-6014 or reedery@uwplatt.edu.

There will be a question and answer period at the end of the forum. All are invited to join in the discussions.

The Confucius Institute is part of an international network of more than 1,060 Confucius Institutes and classrooms dedicated to enhancing the understanding of Chinese language and culture. The institute serves the citizens of Wisconsin through outreach activities, including classes for community members of all ages, seminars for educators and training for businesses across the state. The institute was created in partnership with UW-Platteville's sister school, South-Central University for Nationalities, Wuhan, China, and the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) in the Ministry of Education, Beijing, China.

As UW-Platteville pursues its vision of being recognized as the leading student-focused university for its success in achieving excellence, creating opportunities and empowering each individual, it is guided by four strategic planning priorities. The collaborative forums align with three of the priorities, including providing an outstanding education, fostering a community of achievement and respect and enriching the tri-state region. 

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Strategic Plan is centered around the following priorities:

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  • Enrich the tri-state region

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