Friday, September 24, 2010

Whitworth professor of history invited to give closing lecture Sept. 26 at international symposium

Anthony E. Clark, assistant professor of East Asian history at Whitworth, will deliver the closing lecture on Sept. 26 at an international symposium, Legacies of the Book: Early Missionary Printing in Asia and the Americas, hosted by the University of San Francisco. Clark's lecture is titled Conversion by the Book: Giulio Aleni, S.J., and Jesuit Print Culture in Late-Imperial China.

Clark was invited to give the lecture by Antoni Ucerler, a research scholar and lecturer at the University of Oxford. Ucerler extended the invitation after learning of Clark's recent publications on China's Christian history and a paper he presented at the Association for Asian Studies in Chicago in 2009.

"I feel very humbled to be meeting some of the scholars I have admired for years," Clark says. Other lecturers in attendance will represent 11 countries on four continents.

Clark's lecture will focus chiefly on his recent research on the missionary publications of Giulio Aleni (1582-1649), who produced some of China's first books on Christian belief. Clark will share excerpts from his recent translation of Aleni's Four Character Classic. He believes his translation is the first complete one in existence.

His lecture will also consider how Christian missionaries employed traditional Chinese print culture, such as woodblock prints, to promote Christian doctrine during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The lecture is based on Clark's original research in The Vatican's secret archives and the Pope's private library, as well as in Jesuit archives in Europe and Asia.

Following the symposium, Clark's lecture will be published as a chapter in a scholarly volume.
The Legacies of the Book symposium is one part of a celebration of the life of Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit specialist and one of the founding figures of the Jesuit China mission. Events for the celebration, A Jesuit Pioneer of Cross-Cultural Understanding, began in August and will continue until Dec. 19.

Founded in 1984, the University of San Francisco's Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History at the Center for the Pacific Rim, College of Arts and Sciences, is a premier global resource for the study of Chinese-Western cultural exchange with a core focus on the social and cultural history of Christianity in China.

Last month, Clark hosted "The Saints of China: Martyrs of the Middle Kingdom," a 13-episode TV series on Chinese Catholic martyrs. The show is expected to air on EWTN multiple times in mid-2011.

Clark is the author of Ban Gu's History of Early China (Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2008) and editor of the forthcoming Beating Devils and Burning Their Books: Representations of China, Japan, and the West (University of Michigan AAS Press, 2010). His upcoming books are China's Saints: Catholic Martyrdom during the Qing (1644-1911) (Lehigh University Press, 2011) and Barbarians at the Gate: Crisis and Conflict in Shanxi, China, 1900 (in progress).

Clark, who joined the Whitworth faculty in 2009, holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon, where he also earned his bachelor's degree. He has also studied language, historical literature and cultural studies at the Central University for Nationalities, in Beijing; the Alliance Fran├žaise in Paris; and the National Taiwan Normal University and the Taipei Language Institute, both in Taipei, Taiwan.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of about 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Anthony E. Clark, assistant professor of East Asian history, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4368 or aclark@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703, or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.