History

History of Research and Collaboration between the University of Chicago and China
The University of Chicago’s rich history of scholarly collaboration in China dates to the early 1900s. In the span of a century, research partnerships between University of Chicago scholars and their Chinese counterparts have blossomed into dozens of ongoing relationships spanning many fields of study. The Center in Beijing builds on the University’s legacy of engagement, providing an intellectual destination for research, teaching, and scholarly partnerships.

Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago LibraryPhotograph taken in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China April 12, 1909 in the yámen of the Provincial Treasurer during a visit by former University of Chicago President Ernest De Witt Burton and Thomas C. Chamberlin, members of the Oriental Educational Commission of the University of Chicago

Business, Economics, and Policy
Chicago economics has had significant influence in China. In 1980, D. Gale Johnson, an expert on agricultural policy and development economics, led a group of U.S. economists, including Nobel laureate Theodore W. Schultz, to Beijing, where they delivered China’s first course in modern economics. The center provides a major platform for generating new dialogue between Chicago scholars and Chinese policymakers, scholars, and business leaders on topics such as human capital and economic development, trade and foreign exchange policy, environmental regulation and health policy, and effective business practices.

Culture, Society, and the Arts
Since the 1930s, when Herrlee G. Creel, PHB ’26, PhD ’29, one of the world’s foremost scholars on China’s early civilization and an authority on Confucius, helped found the University of Chicago’s program in Far Eastern Studies, the University has been an important center for the study of Chinese language and civilization. Through international conferences, visiting positions, master seminars for faculty, and interactions with academic institutions, the center will allow more Chicago scholars and students to engage in collaborations with China.

Science, Medicine, and Public Health
Dating to 1914 when University of Chicago President Harry Pratt Judson led the commission that helped establish the China Medical Board and Peking Union Medical College, the University has been home to many Chinese scientists who have made critical contributions to their fields, including Nobel laureates C.N. Yang, PhD ’48, and T.D. Lee, PhD ’50 (Physics, 1957) and Daniel Tsui, SM ’63, PhD ’67 (Physics, 1998). The center provides a physical base for University scientists and their Chinese colleagues to expand already substantial partnerships.

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