Colleges Host First Provost’s Symposium on International Relations – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Colleges Host First Provost’s Symposium on International Relations

Provost Patricia Stranahan introduces new event—this year’s topic “Revolution Betrayed? The Fate of Revolutionary Militias in China”—and honors scholar-alumna

March 31, 2003 Geneva, N.Y. – On April 11 the Colleges will initiate a new annual event, thank a benefactor, and honor an alumna. The theme of the day will be “Celebrating Asia at Hobart and William Smith,” and the day will include a symposium on China featuring a distinguished alumna and a dinner to celebrate a generous gift to the Colleges’ library. It will conclude with the naming of the Colleges’ Asian collection after an alumna who is a nationally recognized scholar in that area. The public is invited to attend the symposium. The Colleges’ radio station, WEOS 89.7 FM, will also broadcast the event live.

Provost Patricia Stranahan, herself a scholar of Asia, had the idea early last fall of initiating an annual event each spring to discuss international affairs. It was her thought that this year’s inaugural event might be centered around Asia, as that was her area of expertise and an area of study that has recently expanded at the Colleges. “I thought it would be appropriate to add an annual symposium on international affairs to the fine speaker’s series already in place at the Colleges. As recent events clearly illustrate, it is critically important for all of us to learn as much as we can about our increasingly complex world,” Stranahan explained.

During the fall, Mark Selden, the Bartle Professor of Sociology and History at Binghamton University and Professorial Associate in the East Asian Program at Cornell University, decided to donate much of his expansive library of works on Asia to the Colleges’ Warren Hunting Smith Library. He made the gift of nearly 5,000 volumes knowing of the Colleges’ recent acquisition of the Marius Jansen collection, he said, as well as because he held Stranahan in high regard.

Selden’s donation, in addition to previous library holdings on that subject area and the recent gift from the Jansen family of 1,200 volumes, means that the Colleges’ library has one of the premiere collections on Asia in the country, especially among small liberal arts institutions.

The collection comprising the Asia library will be named for Elizabeth Perry, William Smith Class of 1969. Perry, an internationally renowned scholar of China, is currently the Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University and the author or co-author of 12 books.

Perry was delighted, and said that she was “pleased that the Colleges have a provost and president so interested in international study.”

The events of the day will begin at 2 p.m. with the symposium at which Perry will discuss “Revolution Betrayed? The Fate of Revolutionary Militias in China (and Other Post-Revolutionary Societies.)” The discussion will be held in the Geneva Room of the library. Seldon and Stranahan, along with Sherman Cochran, professor of history at Cornell University, will provide short perspectives on the talk.

At a dinner that evening, the Colleges will officially dedicate the Elizabeth J. Perry ’69 Asia Library. William Atwell, chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the Colleges, Bill Crumlish, Colleges’ librarian, Selden, Stranahan, and HWS President Mark D. Gearan will all make remarks.

A pre-eminent scholar of Chinese politics, Perry was the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, the winner of the prestigious John King Fairbank prize and sits on the editorial boards of nearly a dozen major scholarly journals. A comparativist, her research focuses on popular protest and grassroots politics in modern and contemporary China.

Selden’s current teaching and research focus on issues of East Asian and comparative regional development in 500-, 150- and 50-year perspectives, issues of nation and citizenship, agrarian transformations, and social movements. He is the author or editor of more than 15 books, and the author of numerous articles.

Cochran has taught modern Chinese history at Cornell since 1973. A recipient of the Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching, he currently has two books in press: “Business and Networks in China: Western, Japanese, and Chinese Companies, 1880-1937” (University of California Press) and an edited volume, “Inventing Nanjing Road: Commercial Culture in Shanghai, 1900-1945” (Cornell University East Asia Series).

Stranahan is the author of three books on the Chinese Communist Party during the revolutionary years and numerous articles. Prior to coming to Hobart and William Smith Colleges she served as executive director of the committee for scholarly communication with China and, later, as director of the Asian studies program at the University of Pittsburgh, where she was also a professor of history. She was also the Naomi Lewis Fellow, a fellowship given to the outstanding scholar in the College of Liberal Arts, at Texas A&M University (1986) and an American Council of Learned Societies Senior
Research Fellow (1996).

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