Campus News

Sarah and James Bowdoin Day Ceremonies to Feature Address by Spence

Story posted September 15, 1998


Sept. 16, 1998, BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Jonathan D. Spence, the Sterling Professor of History at Yale University and a specialist in the history of China since the 16th century, will deliver the keynote address at the Sarah and James Bowdoin Day Exercises on Friday, October 2, at 4:00 p.m. in Morrell Gymnasium. Spence's address is sponsored by the Alfred E. Golz Lecture Fund.

Spence teaches the history of modern China at Yale. His latest book, The Chan's Great Continent: China in Western Minds, was published last year. His previous publications have included a study of the major 19th-century Chinese Taiping uprising titled God's Chinese Son (1996); The Chinese Century, A Photographic History of the Last Hundred Years (1996); The Search for Modern China (1990); and seven other books dealing with Chinese history.

A native of England, Spence attended Winchester College in 1949-54, and after two years in the British Army, studied at Claire College, Cambridge University, receiving his undergraduate degree in history in 1959. At Cambridge, he was the editor of the newspaper, Varsity, and co-editor of the literary magazine, Granta.

He came to Yale for his graduate study under a Mellon Fellowship and earned his master's degree there in 1961. In 1965 he earned his Ph.D. at Yale and was appointed to the Yale faculty as an assistant professor of history. He was promoted to associate professor in 1968 and to full professor in 1971. Five years later he was named George Burton Adams Professor of History, and in 1993 he was named to his current position, Sterling Professor of History.

Spence has earned many honors and distinctions, including the William C. DeVane Medal of Yale Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in recognition of outstanding teaching and scholarship (1978) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1979). He won the Los Angeles Times History Prize in 1982 and the Vursel Prize of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters for the 'excellence of his works in prose' in 1983. In 1988 he was named a MacArthur Fellow and was also named to be one of the Council of Scholars at the Library of Congress. He currently serves on the Governing Board of the Yale University Press.

The Alfred E. Golz Lecture Fund was established in 1986 by Ronald A. Golz '56 in memory of his father. The fund is used to support a lecture by an eminent historian or humanitarian.

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