Congratulations to Professor Judd Kinzley, who has a new article published in the most recent issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History. “The Ghosts of Science Hall: The Chinese Geologists of the University of Wisconsin” tells the story of the Chinese students sent to the University of Wisconsin in the 1920s by China’s National Geological Survey to train as geologists who could assess China’s vast mineral resources.
“A chance meeting in Paris, a hurried telegram from New York, and a cross-country sprint by the father of Chinese geology helped secure Wisconsin’s role in training a generation of China’s most prominent geologists. The story of Ding Wenjiang and the five young geologists he sent to the University of Wisconsin in the 1920s lays bare the critical role played by the University of Wisconsin in aiding the development of Chinese science in the twentieth century. But the tragic end of Xie Jiarong, the first of the Chinese students to matriculate from the UW’s geology department, also reveals the wobbly tightrope and the yawning chasm below it that Chinese students trained in the United States had to walk after Mao Zedong rose to power.”
Professor Judd Kinzley is a historian of modern China, with a particular interest in the ways that natural resources define and often limit state power in Chinese border regions. Professor Kinzley’s book, Natural Resources and the New Frontier: Constructing Modern China’s Borderlands, was published by the University of Chicago in 2018.