Trans-pacific cultural connections: The University of Illinois and China

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The University of Illinois has one of the largest international student populations from China in the United States. An U.S.-based journalist recently headlined it as the "University of China at Illinois" and the sobriquet has caught fire in China. Actually, the university has a long history of connection and engagement with China that stretches back to 1908-1909, at a time when the United States was not yet a significant global power in the Pacific. This essay looks at the dreams, hopes, and problems in this long history in the changing context of U.S.-China relations, which involved using American education to shape the hearts and minds of young Chinese before the idea of "soft power" became popular.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-40
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of American-East Asian Relations
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • C.C. Wang
  • David Kinley
  • H.Y. Moh
  • University of Illinois
  • Wu Tingfang
  • Yan Dongsheng

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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