Wang Gungwu is one of the most influential historians of his
generation. Initially renowned for his pioneering work on the
structure of power in early imperial China, he is more widely known
for expanding the horizons of Chinese history to include the
histories of the Chinese and their descendents outside China. It is
probably no coincidence, Philip Kuhn observes, that the most
comprehensive historian of the Overseas Chinese is the historian
most firmly grounded in the history of China itself.
This book is a celebration of the life, work, and impact of
Professor Wang Gungwu over the past four decades. It commemorates
his contribution to the study of Chinese history and the abiding
influence he has exercised over later generations of historians,
particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
The book begins with an historiographical survey by Philip Kuhn
(Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History at Harvard University)
of Wang Gungwu's enduring contribution to scholarship. It concludes
with an engaging oral history of Professor Wang's life, career, and
The intervening chapters explore many of the fields in which Wang
Gungwu's influence has been felt over the years, including
questions of political authority, national identity, commercial
life, and the history of the diaspora from imperial times to the
present day. Each of these chapters is authored by a former student
of Professor Wang, now working and teaching in Hong Kong, Southeast
Asia, Australasia, Taiwan and Canada.
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