A Personal History of Sino-American Relations

Nelson Yuan-Sheng Kiang

Thursdays, March 8 - April 12 1:00 -3:00 p.m. 6 sessions
Prescott House, 55 Beacon Street

This course will be based on my personal experiences as affected by historic changes in the relations between China and the United States since the fall of the Ching Dynasty in 1912.  

The format for each session will be a brief introduction of the topic, followed by discussions of issues, based on questions from registrants. The intent of the course is not so much to provide didactic presentations of events and facts as to offer a basis for interpreting current happenings as they develop.

The sessions will be on:

1. Basic facts, including my credentials

2. A century of U.S. - China relations

3. The Chinese people of today

4. Chinese diasporas, especially in the U.S. 5. Possible futures for U.S. - China Relations

6. Bi-national tourism and exchanges

For each session, questions relevant to the topic are welcome, and controversial issues will be openly addressed. Embedded in the discussions will be cultural and philosophical differences between Eastern and Western values.

Teaching Style: Seminar     Weekly Preparation: None


    Nelson Yuan-Sheng Kiang

    Nelson Yuan-Sheng Kiang is an emeritus professor at MIT and Harvard who was born in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China, in 1929. He came to the United States in 1934 when his father, a diplomat, opened the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles, and never left. He spent 10 years (1945-1955) as a student at the University of Chicago before coming to the Boston area. For four decades he specialized in the neurophysiology of hearing. During the past two decades, his main interests have been global health and international higher education. He has no official Chinese or U.S. connections, so is free to speak his mind.    

    His son, Peter, is a professor and the Director of the Asian-American Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. His grandson, Justin, is a graduate student in education at UCLA, concentrating on Asian-American studies.