“With Their Own Eyes” 

From left to right: Madison Coers, Kylie Sneller, and Katherine Dirkse

Hearing about the man who’d dedicated his life to eliminating the cancer of slavery from the United States was okay, but Hope College scholars Madison Coers, Kylie Sneller, and Katherine Dirkse wanted more. During their spring 2023 course Civil War America: Disruption & Destiny, winter weather forced the cancellation of a class trip to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Madison, Kylie, and Kate had been excited to see where abolitionist John Brown had raided the federal arsenal on October 16, 1859, seeking to get free Blacks, Black slaves, and anti-slavery Whites to join him in a crusade to crush America’s brutal system of human bondage. Faced with not being able to make the trip, the scholars were disappointed but undaunted. 

Madison, Kylie, and Kate moved forward, learning all they could about the life and legacy of John Brown who award-winning documentarian, Ken Burns, in his 1990 epic production “The Civil War,” described as “The Meteor” foreshadowing America’s prolonged, bloody civil conflict. 

When the spring 2023 semester ended, the three scholars continued their examination to gain deeper insight into Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry which, along with enraging Southerners, caused a direct confrontation with the United States military. 

John Brown

Each new revelation convinced these determined researchers that the life and times of John Brown weren’t just history. They contained lessons and warnings for 21st-century Americans. Fortified by that motivation, Madison, Kylie, and Kate dissected the unraveling of Brown’s plan, starting from the moment he launched his attack, and  continuing as circumstances steadily worsened for him and his raiders. 

The townspeople of Harper’s Ferry proved more resilient and ferocious than Brown and his men had anticipated, and they put up a stiff resistance. Area Blacks, free and slave, stayed away, knowing that a mere raid would never be enough to eliminate the slavery which they knew to be not only oppressive but evil. Slavery had been making North America spectacularly wealthy since 1619 when a Dutch warship had delivered a cargo of twenty Africans to the English colony of Jamestown, Virginia.

Dangerfield Newby

After generations of being the target of slavery’s relentless violence, Blacks collectively understood that its beneficiaries would never relinquish that vile system without a fight of cataclysmic proportions. Still, a few African Americans like free Black, Dangerfield Newby, joined the raiders, and they were swiftly killed.  The dead body of Newby, who’d participated in hopes of freeing his enslaved wife who was about to be sold, was mutilated and left out in the open on a Harper’s Ferry side street to rot for days.

The desire to know what had caused the United States, “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” to, by 1859, be so economically dependent upon a system of human bondage reinforced for Madison, Kylie, and Kate the need to see Harper’s Ferry with their own eyes.  

Professors get energized when encountering students who possess such impassioned intellectual curiosity like the kind displayed by Madison, Kylie, and Kate. Their enthusiasm was irresistible, so on Friday, August 11, 2023, we all set out for Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Early Saturday we took the short trip from our hotel in Maryland to Harper’s Ferry, crossing a bridge over the Potomac River.

Harper’s Ferry, W. Virginia
(Shenandoah River on the left joins with Potomac River on the right and flows toward Washington, D.C.) 

There, Madison, Kylie, and Kate saw the dangerous geography that had challenged both John Brown and his raiders in 1859, and the Union and Confederate forces who’d battled for the town during the Civil War (April 12, 1861 – April 9, 1865). 

Surrounded by steep, craggy, mountains strewn with mammoth, forbidding boulders, we went from Maryland, into Virginia, and into West Virginia in less than five minutes. Once in Harper’s Ferry we drove to the Bolivar Heights battlefield, overlooking the town and walked the ground. Although not well-known like Antietam or Gettysburg, the Bolivar Heights battlefield was the scene of significant struggle during the Civil War, because Harper’s Ferry was a strategic location for both the North and the South. 

Standing near cannons at the Bolivar Heights battlefield

Hundreds of tourists were visiting Harper’s Ferry that weekend, but they didn’t get to experience the historic site like Madison, Kylie, and Kate. On the banks of the Shenandoah River, the scholars stood mere inches from the flowing waters of that mighty river which had once turned the water wheels of cotton and grain mills on Virginius Island, adjacent to Harper’s Ferry. 

On the banks of the Shenandoah River
Abandoned Railroad Bridge 
Supports at Harper’s Ferry

They walked alongside the tracks of a railroad which, during the Civil War, had been a magnet for destruction by Confederate raiders like General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson. They looked out across the Potomac at stone supports, the only remains of a Baltimore & Ohio railroad bridge that Jackson had destroyed so often that the B&O finally stopped attempting repairs.  

Madison, Kylie, and Kate walked through the town’s Provost Marshal’s (military police) office and noticed the narrow doorways, lower room ceilings, and smaller furniture, gaining a good idea of the smaller stature of 19th-century Americans. 

The three scholar-researchers were silent and reflective when they stepped into the firehouse, known as John Brown’s Fort, where he and his raiders made their last stand. Outnumbered and outgunned by a military detachment sent by train from Washington, D.C., Brown had run out of options. Detachment commanders Colonel Robert E. Lee and his subordinate, James Ewell Brown (Jeb) Stuart, then members of the United States Army,  ordered Brown to surrender. He refused. The military detachment stormed the firehouse, ending the raid. Ten of Brown’s men had been killed, including two of his sons. 

The firehouse a/k/a John Brown’s Fort

Standing in the location of the violent incident that sent John Brown, first, to prison in nearby Charlestown and, finally, to the hangman’s noose, Madison, Kylie, and Kate saw with their own eyes the landscape, historical explanations, and images of people who, in their own time, fought to make their nation a more just society. Their legacy joins with the struggle of people seeking to achieve justice for all in 21st-century America.  

 Madison, Kylie, and Kate inside John Brown’s Fort

On Sunday, August 13, having explored as much of Harper’s Ferry as we could, we headed back to Michigan, making a detour to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to honor heroes who gave their lives to save others on September 11, 2001.

Madison, Kylie, and Kate were lost in deep reflection as they walked through the Flight 93 National Memorial, looking over exhibits of the unforgettable events of 9/11. They learned that the day had just started for the people of rural Shanksville when a hijacked commercial airliner, United 93, roared over their homes at treetop level. Windows shattered. Dishes vibrated off shelves. Car alarms blared. People dove for cover.

Flight 93 Memorial

Passengers aboard United 93, learning that terrorists had used airliners to attack New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., deduced that the hijackers of their plane intended to also use it for attacking the nation’s capital.  

While 9/11 happened before Madison, Kylie, and Kate were born, seeing the memorial with their own eyes helped them appreciate  the shock of that day’s events. They were awestruck by the courage of passengers who’d fought back and seized control of their aircraft, refusing to let the terrorist cowards inflict more harm upon their country. 

Moments before neutralizing the hijackers, one passenger, Todd Beamer, speaking with Chicago telephone operator Lisa Jefferson, asked her to recite the Lord’s Prayer with him. They prayed and then Lisa heard Todd say, “Are you guys ready?” They answered, and he said, “Let’s roll.”

When the passengers of United 93 took control of their airplane they’d been only twenty aerial minutes away from Washington, D. C. before crashing into the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania.

Flight 93 Memorial

Madison, Kylie, and Kate have often heard me say that really knowing history requires going to where it happened and “walking the ground.” Be in the space where John Brown made his last stand. Hear the rushing Shenandoah River that once turned water wheels, making Virginius Island and Harper’s Ferry economic powerhouses. Stand on the side street where Dangerfield Newby’s body was left to rot. See the wounded earth, still healing from the crash of United 93.

Although separated by more than one hundred years from John Brown’s raid, Madison, Kylie, and Kate have no doubt that John Brown and his legacy remain relevant in 21st-century America. They know that the story of the passengers who prevented  an atrocity on Nine-Eleven underscores the need for vigilance against national threats, foreign and domestic. They now know, understand, and feel history as scholars who’ve seen it with their own eyes.            

Hope ’23 Graduate Completes Marine Corps Officer Candidates’ School

Written by Fred L. Johnson III, Ph.D.,

Hope ’23 Graduate and Marine Second Lieutenant Jacob Burkett

Twelve weeks of relentless pounding by Virginia’s brutal summer sun did not stop them. Hours of marching, running, and pushing themselves to perform beyond what they had once thought impossible made them determined to do more. Be better. Be excellent. They silenced inner demons of doubt to better hear the future calling them to duty and destiny. From the start until the end, May 2023 Hope College graduate, Jacob Burkett and his fellow candidates at Quantico Marine Base’s Officer’s Candidate’s School gave everything they had to earn the title: MARINE.

On August 5, 2023, newly commissioned Second Lieutenant Jacob Burkett raised his hand and swore to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, against any and all threats to the United States of America. As Jake took his oath, a special guest of honor watched as the torch was passed to this new generation of warriors. Commander Everett Alvarez, Jr., the first American aviator taken captive during the Vietnam conflict, inspired the new Marines and their families with his mere presence. The grandson of Mexican immigrants, Commander Alvarez had been an A-4 Skyhawk attack pilot before being shot down near Hanoi on August 5, 1964. Commander Alvarez became the second longest-held U.S. prisoner of war (POW) in U.S. History (finally being released on February 12, 1973).   

Everett Alvarez, Jr.
United States Navy (Retired)

Once Commander Alvarez was recognized for his outstanding service to the United States, the graduation ceremony continued, and I reflected on the many encounters that I’d had with Jake. Although not a history major (but rather a student in Hope’s Department of Economics and Business) Jake Burkett was nonetheless, making history with his accomplishment. During the 2022 – 2023 academic year, it had been my special privilege to share with Jake my own recollections about the wonderful pride and privilege of being a Marine Corps Officer. We also discussed the sobering reality that the Marine Corps’ primary purpose for existence is to wage war in defense of the nation.

Jake was always clear-eyed about his aspirations, forging ahead to prove that he belonged in the ranks of such excellent women and men of valor who’d dedicated themselves to preserving America’s republican-democracy. We discussed giants of leadership like four-time Navy Cross winner General Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller; hard-hitting, no nonsense former Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray; the warrior-sage General Richard I. “Butch” Neal who, as a young Second Lieutenant during the Vietnam conflict, was instantly thrust into command of a combat unit when its leaders were killed during a firefight; and trailblazers like General Margaret A. Brewer, the Marine Corps’ first woman general officer; and General Frank E. Petersen who, in addition to becoming the Marine Corps’ first black aviator, flew combat missions in Korea and Vietnam, eventually advancing to become the Marine Corp’s first black general officer.

Jake spared no effort familiarizing himself with the latest policies and doctrines that were being implemented not only in the Marine Corps but throughout America’s defense establishment to ensure preparedness in the constantly changing environment of the international arena. He repeatedly demonstrated that he possessed the right combination of intellectual brilliance, unflinching willpower, and voluminous courage to evolve into a great Marine Officer and commander. The aspect of Jake’s character, which assured me that he’d not only be a great Marine Officer but will become an outstanding leader, is his deep desire to serve from the front. Long before I ever mentioned the principle, Jake knew that it’s better to inspire people into action rather than by flexing rank and authority. Practical and wise, though, Jake also understood (and understands) that some people require occasional vigorous applications of rank and authority, and he possesses the presence of mind, soundness of judgment, and courage to do what’s necessary in helping him and his Marines accomplish their mission.

Jacob Burkett with his parents.

Second Lieutenant Jacob Burkett is a fine example of the collective work that’s achieved by Hope College’s staff, administration, and faculty in fulfilling the College’s mission to “educate students for lives of leadership and service in a global society.” Jake is also a son who made his parents proud on August 5, 2023 when he took his oath of office and assumed the title of United States Marine. It was a privilege and honor to sit with Jake’s family during the graduation ceremony at Quantico Marine Base’s Brown Field which proudly proclaims “We Make Marine Officers”.

Second Lieutenant Burkett, from one Marine Officer to another, I say congratulations.
Welcome to the legacy, and “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful).
Fred L. Johnson III, Ph.D.
Captain, United States Marine Corps (Retired)
Guy Vander Jagt ‘53 Endowed Professor of History at Hope College

“Ottawa County Poor Farm”

New Perspectives from Data Analytics and Local/Digital History

This off-site presentation is a collaboration between the Holland Museum, the Hope College History Department, and the Herrick District Library.

Friday, December 2, 2022
4:00-5:00 pm
Herrick District Library Auditorium, 300 S. River Ave
Free Adult Program, donations encouraged

This program is part of the Holland Museum “Tales from the Archives” series which explores local history topics supported by the Holland Museum’s collection and archives.  It is also a part of the Hope College History Department Colloquium Series.

For more than a century, the Ottawa County Poor Farm was a place some people called home, and a source of identity in the county’s community. But time has erased memories of its significance. This past summer (2022), Hope College students Chloe Bares, Aubrey Brolsma, and Ty Overhiser along with Wayne Tan, Associate Professor of History, worked together to find new perspectives on the Poor Farm. Using rare historical records and new digital and data analytical tools, this presentation breathes new life into stories about the Poor Farm–its residents and their lives, and its rise and decline in the timeline of the community’s history.  (Holland Museum)

History Course Preview – Spring 2023

The time has come: Spring 2023 courses are here!

Registration begins on November 7th

Take a look at our upcoming offerings as you begin to plan. For a complete list of upcoming classes or to see course details, including dates, times and professors, please see the Registrar’s course schedule.

HIST 130 – 01 Intro Ancient Civilization
TR 3:00 pm – 4:20 pm | DWTCUL 247 | Burr, Margaret H
The course will focus on significant developments in history from its Greek origins through the Renaissance. It is designed to introduce the student to the discipline of history. | Credits: 4, CH1

HIST 131 Intro to Modern European History
TR 9:30 – 10:50 am | DOWCTR 204 | Johnson, Fred
This course will focus on significant developments in modern European history from the Renaissance to our own time. It is designed to introduce the student to the discipline of history. Credits: 4, CH2

HIST 141 – The Historian’s Vocations
MWF 2:00 pm – 2:50 pm (meets 2nd half of the semester) | GRAVES 201 |Petit, Jeanne
This course introduces students to vocational exploration and discernment through the concepts of vocation, calling, and purpose and their intellectual history; connections between historical thinking, research skills, and writing to jobs and careers; and the skills necessary for successful identification and pursuit of experiential learning opportunities. In order to pass the course, each student must develop a clear, detailed plan for pursuing experiential learning opportunities that will aid vocational exploration and discernment. Required for History majors and minors. Students may take HIST 140 either prior to enrollment in or concurrently with the class. | Credits: 2

HIST 161 – U.S. History Since 1877
MWF 11:00 am – 11:50 am | Graves 121 |Petit, Jeanne D.
This course surveys U.S. history from Reconstruction to the present. It examines the major social, cultural, political, and economic events that shaped the U.S. after the Civil War, focusing especially on industrialization, Progressivism, WW I, the Great Depression, the New Deal, WW II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Sixties and Reagan Republicanism. | Credits: 4, GLD

HIST 175 – Michigan History
TR 12:00 pm – 1:20 pm | Johnson, Fred L
This course is a survey of Michigan History to the present and is primarily designed for students majoring in education. The main objective of History 175 is for students to demonstrate an understanding of the chronology, narratives, perspectives, and interpretations of Michigan history from its beginnings to the present. To this end, students will: examine relationships, including cause and effect, among important events from the era; identify the sequence of these events and describe the setting and the people affected; analyze and compare interpretations of events from a variety of perspectives; and assess the implications and long-term consequences of key decisions made at critical turning points in Michigan history. | Credits: 2

HIST 200 – Historical Snapshot: The Roaring Twenties
MWF 9:30 am – 10:20 am (meets first half of the semester) | Petit, Jeanne D.

HIST 200 – Historical Snapshot: The Crusades
MWF 3:00 – 3:50 pm (meets first half of the semester) | Gibbs, Janis

This course is designed to allow the exploration of some narrow moment in time (early imperial Rome) or some particular historical issue or problem (such as World War II, Christianity in China, or women in early Modern Europe). The content and emphasis of each section is determined by the instructor. Students may repeat the course for credit as topics change. No more than two 2-credit HIST 200 courses may be counted toward the major, and no more than one toward the minor. | Credits: 2

HIST 207- Historical Snapshot: Intro to World History to 1500
TR 1:30 – 2:50 pm | Burr, Margaret

This introductory world history course surveys developments in global history from prehistory until about 1500. The course focuses on regional, interregional and global interactions from the beginning of written history to the European crossing of the Atlantic. Credits: 4, CH1

HIST 208- Historical Snapshot: Intro to World History Since 1500
Online | Janes, Lauren

This introductory world history course surveys developments in global history since 1500. The course focuses on interregional and global interactions from the European crossing of the Atlantic through the Cold War. Credits: 4, CH1, GLI

HIST 221- Colonial and Post-Colonial Africa: African Perspectives on Colonialism
TR 12:00 – 1:20 pm | Janes, Lauren

This course explores the colonial experiences of Africans as well as the legacies of European colonial rule in Africa. It highlights the different ways Africans responded to European military conquest and political domination from the mid-1850s to the 1960s. The course also studies how Africans struggled for independence, using specific case studies to show the different paths toward independence. Novels by African authors will be used to examine the social and cultural experiences of colonialism. The course gives voice to the colonized in a variety of contexts across Africa by emphasizing how Africans shaped colonial encounters with Europeans. Credits: 4, GLI

HIST 242- Twentieth Century Europe
MWF 12:00 – 12:50 pm | Tseng, Gloria

Does each century have a “spirit of the age”? What do the trenches of the First World War, the gas chambers of the Holocaust, the communist experiment, and psychoanalysis reveal about the “spirit” of the twentieth century? This course surveys the history of twentieth-century Europe from three chronologically overlapping vantage points: “the age of catastrophe,” “the age of secular ideological extremes,” and “the limits of secularism.” The events and developments examined in this course are chosen to reflect these concerns. In addition to mastering the main events and developments that have defined the twentieth century, we will seek to answer the question, In what ways are we heirs of the legacy of the twentieth-century Europe as seen from each of these vantage points? Credits: 4

HIST 295- Pompeii and Herculaneum: Daily Life in the Roman World
TR 9:30 – 10:50 am | Burr, Margaret

These courses are designed to allow students to study geographic areas, historical periods, or particular issues not normally covered in the formal courses offered in the Department of History. In each course a professor will present lectures in his or her area of particular interest and students will engage in guided reading and research under the professor’s supervision. Credits: 4

HIST 355- U.S. Foreign Policy
TR 3:00 – 4:20 pm | Johnson, Fred

This course traces the development of United States foreign policy from the Spanish-American War to the present. In this period the United States emerged as a great world power, assumed center stage during World War II, offset the threat of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and currently claims title to being the world’s lone superpower. Post Cold War conditions have challenged the nation to formulate policies responsive to recent manifestations of threats not yet clearly defined, including the problems of non-state actors and terrorism. Credits: 4

“Things Odious and Immoral”

The Foreign Relations of U.S. Slavery, 1775-1865

Please join the Hope College History Department as we welcome Dr. Steven Brady, Assistant Professor in the Department of History at George Washington University.

Tuesday, October 25 at 7 p.m.
This is a virtual event. Please click on the link below to join via Google Meet.


“What I Did This Summer – Part 2”

Hope College History Department

Dr. Jeanne Petit

Dr. Jeanne Petit spent the previous year on sabbatical, and in the Spring she got the opportunity to attend a conference in Scranton, Pennsylvania. While there, she took a tour of a now-defunct anthracite coal mine, and got a taste of the brutal conditions miners faced there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She also spent a week doing research in New York City, and got to visit one of her favorite museums, the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Later in the summer, she took a trip to Alpena, Michigan where she learned about Great Lakes shipwrecks and did a little fossil hunting. She found some cool crinoids, corals, and clams from the Devonian age (about 300 million years ago). 

Lackawanna Coal Mining Tour near Scranton, Pennsylvania
The Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side of New York City
Some fossil finds from Alpena, Michigan

Dr. Wayne Tan

Dr. Wayne Tan led a team of summer student researchers (Chloe Bares, Aubrey Brolsma, and Ty Overhiser) to analyze the records of the Ottawa County Poor Farm. They applied methods of data analytics to seek new insights into the history of the Poor Farm. This project was funded by the Data Analytics/Science program and the Joint Archives of Holland.

(“The Poor Farm” by Ottawa County Parks Foundation with Vantage Point Visual and TDMP Films)

In early summer, Dr. Tan also submitted his final book manuscript to the publisher. Blind in Early Modern Japan: Disability, Medicine, and Identity (published in the Corporealities series by the University of Michigan Press) is now available for sale! (Twitter: @WTan_historian)

Dr. Maggie Burr

My family and I got to spend three weeks in England this summer, where we went for my D.Phil. viva (aka: Ph.D. defense). A couple days after passing the viva, we all got Covid, which was an unexpected way to end the trip. On the bright side, the entire group (my parents, husband Bram, who also teaches at Hope, our 2.5-year-old daughter Mia, and myself) got to spend time wandering around relatively-isolated portions of the English countryside (with some post-quarantine days doing real sightseeing at the end). Aside from seeing some very dear friends we hadn’t seen since before Covid (and passing the viva), the best part was introducing Mia to some of our old haunts in Oxfordshire & Gloucestershire: the Neolithic/Early Bronze Age Rollright Stones, Chastleton House, wading with ducks in the Windrush River the dinosaurs and early collections at the Natural History/Pitt Rivers Museums, Fayum portraits at the Ashmolean, etc. We went to visit family in coastal Massachusetts later in the summer (favorite part aside from seeing all the people: lobstah rolls and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum) and, after all that excitement, spent the end of the summer relaxing, working on academic and home improvement projects, and seeing friends around Holland. 

“What I Did This Summer -Part One”

Hope College History Department

Dr. Lauren Janes

Professor Janes was thrilled to return to Paris, co-leading the Art, History, and Global Citizenship in Paris May Term.  It was wonderful to return to favorite restaurants, markets, and neighborhood spots and see them thriving. The students were able to visit museums, go on walking tours, and take in awesome cultural events. Dr. Janes was especially thrilled to tour the newly-renovated Musée Carnavalet, full of artifacts of the history of Paris.

Dr. Janes teaching in the Musée Carnavalet

Another highlight this year was her visit to Monet’s gardens at Giverny. Pictured left is Dr. Janes with Dr. Heidi Kraus, Hope College Associate Provost and Art and Art History Professor. 

The Art, History, and Global Citizenship in Paris May Term will travel again in May 2023!
Applications are due Oct 29 at travel.hope.edu. 

Dr. Gloria Tseng

This was a full summer, even though I did not attend the two summer conferences that I regularly attended for many years before the pandemic. The Andrew Walls Centre for the Study of African and Asian Christianity at Liverpool-Hope University did not hold a conference this year, and I did not attend this year’s Yale-Edinburgh Group Meeting. In the last three years, two towering figures in the field world Christianity passed away—Lamin Sanneh in January 2019 and Andrew Walls in August 2021. Even though their deaths were not the reason for which I skipped the Y-E Meeting this year, I was deeply aware that the passing of these two co-founders of the Yale-Edinburgh Group and animating spirits of its annual meetings signified the end of an era in the field.

I remained home, first working on a new project, the preparation of a grant application, which, if successful, would provide funding for starting a documentary on the conversion of the Atayal, one of more than a dozen indigenous tribes of Taiwan, to Christianity. Then I finished a paper on the twentieth-century Chinese writer Ba Jin, “Love, Resurrection, and Revolution: The Anguished Cries of a May Fourth Intellectual,” for inclusion in a conference volume. I first presented the paper at a conference organized by the University of Manchester and Hong Kong Baptist University in January of this year, “Translation, Literature, and Publishing in Chinese Christianities.”

On Thursday, September 22, I will present a version of this paper at one of the public talks of the Holland Museum (https://hollandmuseum.org/event/biblical-imagery-in-unlikely-places-christianity-and-early-twentieth-century-chinese-literature/?event_date=2022-09-22).

It was also a summer of gardening and hospitality. A friend came and stayed with me for a month from the last week of June to the last week of July, and the Atayal pastor with whom Prof. Choonghee Han (Communication Department) and I are collaborating on the documentary project visited for a few days before Independence Day.

I finally made it out to Colorado for ten days in mid-August, in time before the start of the new academic year. It was well-needed; I hiked, climbed, and came back better for it!

Biblical Imagery in Unlikely Places:

Christianity and Early 20th Century Chinese Literature – Virtual Program

Thursday, September 22, 2022
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Virtual Program
Register now on Eventbrite

The first three decades of the twentieth century witnessed both a remarkable expansion of missionary endeavors in China and the rise of anti-Christian and anti-imperialist sentiments among Chinese intellectuals. Surprisingly, the authors of this period who championed new Chinese literature often employed Biblical imagery in their works, infusing them with a Christian ethos. This presentation by Gloria S. Tseng, Associate Professor of History, Hope College explores the paradoxical relationship between Christianity and modern Chinese literature through a case study of the author Ba Jin’s novels. This program supports our exhibition In Service to Others: A History of Holland’s Women Missionaries.

About the Presenter

Gloria S. Tseng is Associate Professor of History at Hope College. She teaches courses on modern Chinese and modern European history. Her current research examines the indigenization of Protestant Christianity in twentieth-century China, the historical processes by which Christianity evolved from a foreign faith associated with Western imperialism to a faith embraced by as many as ten percent of the population in some parts of the country.