Bevis T B (2014) A History of Higher Education Exchange: China and America, London: Routledge

Routledge in International and Comparative Education

ISBN 978-0-415-83990-3 235 pages

This book is part of the series that offers a ‘global platform to engage scholars in continuous academic debate on key challenges and the latest thinking on issues in the fast growing field of International and Comparative Education.’

It is set in the context of almost 200,00 Chinese students being enrolled in colleges and universities across the United States, with the number of Americans choosing to study in China rising too. The book sets out to focus on the story itself-‘highlighting the people, programs, trials and triumphs.’

The chapters are The Back Story, The Runaway, The Chinese Educational Mission, Righteous and Harmonious fists, A Random Grafting of twigs, The Mao Years, A Third Wave, China’s New academic Face and Leaning Toward Mid-Century.

An interesting narrative is provided of the development and rise of the American colleges such as Harvard and Yale. Similarly the development of the Chinese people in relation to their education overseas is outlined, in relation to key issues. Numerous stories and anecdotes illustrate the points being made and the problems and challenges which frequently occurred. Significant figures from Chinese history are presented in mini vignettes. Periods of turmoil are carefully examined and articulated. Key philosophies such as those of John Dewey and Paul Monroe are linked to events and actions.

The account begins in 1872 when China changed its isolation policy and sent 30 ‘bright boys’ on a voyage to the USA. The rise of science is discussed in detail and links are continually made to the situation in China at the time. Links to tea and opium are made and to the vision China had. The Chinese Educational Mission  is thoroughly detailed. Political links between the United States and China are examined in relation to key figures such as Teddy Roosevelt, Chairman Mao and Joseph  McCarthy. The rise of scholarships for women is detailed too as is The Cultural Revolution. The Obama administration actively supported this exodus and the crucial links to finance are made clear.

The detailed appendices contain a timeline, Confucius institutes in the US, key letters and very detailed notes.

This is an interesting book tailored to a very specific audience.