Campus & Community

Conference in China remembers Benjamin Schwartz

2 min read

A major international conference was held Dec. 16-18 at East China Normal University in Shanghai on the occasion of the late Professor Benjamin Schwartz’s 90th birthday.

The conference brought together distinguished scholars from the United States, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia to celebrate and honor the scholarly interests and accomplishments of Schwartz, which ranged from ancient Chinese thought to contemporary Communist politics. Co-sponsored by East China Normal University, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and Harvard’s Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, the conference was attended by hundreds of students and scholars, and attracted wide media attention in China.

Schwartz, who died in 1999, was the Leroy B. Williams Professor of History and Political Science Emeritus. He was the author of several influential books, including “Chinese Communism and the Rise of Mao” (1951), “In Search of Wealth and Power: Yen Fu and the West” (1964), and “The World of Thought in Ancient China” (1985).

“Schwartz was unique among political scientists working on China in being equally at home in ancient and contemporary history,” said Elizabeth Perry, the Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government. “He had an enormous impact on the field of Chinese studies, being one of the first scholars to demonstrate that Chinese communism was not simply a carbon copy of Soviet communism, but had its own historical roots and contemporary practices.”