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Roundtable on Historians of China as World History Authors
Organizer and Chair: Patricia Ebrey, University of Washington.edu
Discussants: Peter C. Perdue, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Patricia Ebrey, University of Washington; Benjamin Elman, Princeton University; Linda Walton, Portland State University; Michael T. Tsin, University of North Carolina; Richard Von Glahn, University of California, Los Angeles
In recent years, as college world history surveys devote more time to Asia, textbook publishers have tried harder to get Asian historians (and especially Chinese historians) on their textbook writing teams. By now there are a dozen or more Chinese historians who have worked on world history texts. This roundtable will bring together some of these historians to discuss their experiences. The focus of the panel will not be on how world history has been invigorated by the influx of Chinese historians (though members of the audience may well bring up this issue) but on how priorities for the study of Chinese history shift when one thinks from a world historical perspective. Of the six participants, half have world history textbooks already out, and half are currently finishing books. Although as textbook authors we take different approaches and are competing with one another for sales, as Chinese historians we share a desire to engage more of our colleagues in thinking globally about China. To maximize discussion, we will begin the roundtable with each panelist speaking for seven or eight minutes. That will leave more than half of our time for more open interchange among panelists and the audience.