American Images of China Then and Now

Jonathan Goldstein, ed., Jerry Israel, ed. and Hilary Conroy, ed.

American images of China have varied greatly through time, as have the way that images have reached the United States through various media. America Views China analyzes the variety of images of China from colonial times to the present, through such media as unpublished travelogues, newspaper accounts, artifacts, and photographs, as well as the more official reports of diplomats, businessmen, and missionaries. The contributors' approaches and impressions are quite diverse, and they are unclouded by scholarly controversy.


The four essays in Part I bring out both the positive and negative in the earliest attitudes toward China, exploring both the idealization resulting from fascination with Chinese art and culture and the increasing disdain as traders and missionaries closely experienced the realities of a declining empire.


Part II opens with a discussion of the origins of official diplomatic relations arising out of both the needs of American merchants and the aggressive idealism of the missionaries. Other essays relate the American image of the awakening China in the wake of the Boxer rebellion and the 1911 revolution; the image in popular culture has seen through Dr. Fu Manchu and Charlie Chan; and the shifting of American journalistic perceptions.


Part III contains firsthand observations of American anticommunism of the 1950s and the "Democracy Spring" of 1979, seen by both a left-wing journalist on a Propaganda Department tour and a college professor returning to his native province. Other essays include a reflection on Mao's tomb, a social scientist's look at Chinese economic performance, a critique of the PRC's economic structure as compared with Taiwan, a juxtaposition of the positive reports of 1970s American visitors with negative reports in the 1980's, and a comparison of images of China with those of Japan.

0934223130 (AUP)
Lehigh University Press - America Views China