A Historian’s Life

Professor Jonathan Spence, Sterling Professor of History (Emeritus) at Yale University

This talk is organised under the auspices of the Tan Chin Tuan Chinese Culture and Civilisation Programme

Join Professor Jonathan Spence as he reflects on the history of modern China since the seventeenth century. The talk will focus on how Chinese history seemed to be constantly changing in response to China's place in the world.


Professor Jonathan Spence is the Sterling Professor of History (Emeritus) at Yale University and author of over 10 books on Chinese history such as The Search for Modern China and Return to Dragon Mountain: Memories of a Late Ming Man. Following his BA in history from Cambridge, he was awarded a Clare-Mellon fellowship and went to Yale University to study the history and culture of China. After receiving an East Asian Prize Fellowship, he completed his PhD in 1965 and was awarded the John Adison Porter Prize for the year’s outstanding thesis.

Professor Spence served at Yale University from 1966 to 2008 in various posts such as Director of the Division of Humanities, Chairman of the History Department and a member of the Board of Governors of the Yale University Press. His awards and honours included Guggenheim and Macarthur fellowships and literary prizes like the Vursel prize of the American Academy.

Professor Spence was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Council of Scholars at the Library of Congress and the American Philosophical Society. And he was named a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. He has received honorary degrees from 12 colleges and universities, including the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Oxford University and Columbia University.


The Tan Chin Tuan Professorship in Chinese Studies and the Tan Chin Tuan Chinese Culture and Civilisation Programme were established to honour Tan Sri Dr Tan Chin Tuan, whose legacy of philanthropy is transforming lives even today through the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation. Yale-NUS has appointed Professor Scott Cook, an expert in Chinese history, as our inaugural Tan Chin Tuan Professor of Chinese Studies.

Under the auspices of the Tan Chin Tuan Chinese Culture and Civilisation Programme, which aims to increase the understanding of China and Chinese culture amongst the students at Yale-NUS College, the Foundation has supported the Chinese Language Scholarship Programme and co-curricular activities which help deepen our students’ knowledge of China.

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  • The event description was updated. Diff 2015-02-27 15:10:44
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Thu Mar 12, 2015
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM SGT
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U Town Auditorium 2 @ Stephen Riady Centre
Yale-NUS College
Venue Address
2 College Avenue West, 138607 Singapore
Yale-NUS College