1933: Hu Shih 胡適 gives the Chinese Renaissance lecture series at the University of Chicago

Hu, who had been a student at Cornell in 1910 and at Columbia after that, was already famous when he came to Chicago in the summer of 1933 to deliver a series of lectures.  As a brilliant writer, historian, occasional archaeologist, and teacher, his New Culture Movement had already transformed the Chinese written language literature by substituting everyday language for classical Chinese in books as well as periodicals.  At the time of his visit he was Dean of Arts at Peking University.  In 1938-42 he was the Chinese Ambassador to the United States.

The lectures were later published under the title “The Chinese Renaissance,” and had an important impact on Western views of China.  There were four lectures in all:.

1) “Resistance, Enthusiastic Appreciation, and the New Doubt: Changes in Chinese Conceptions of Western Civilization”
2) “The Chinese Renaissance: The Vernacular Language Movement and Education Reform”
3) “Religion in Chinese Life: Influence of Buddhism on Chinese culture”
4) “Social Disintegration and Readjustment: Democracy, Feminism, Social Reform”
Partly because of the popularity of the Chinese exhibits at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, Hu’s lectures drew wide attention and he became a media celebrity.  A well-known woman sculptor, Malvina Hoffman, showed her statue of him at the Field Museum during the Fair.