“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Royal Asiatic Society Beijing – Walking Tour of Peking University – 20/5/18

Posted: May 17th, 2018 | No Comments »

Walking Tour of Peking University: from a former prince’s mansion to a premier university in China

WHAT: Peking University campus historical walking tour, led by Rosie Levine
WHEN: May 20, Sunday, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon
WHERE: Meet at the East Gate of Peking University Subway Station (Exit A) on line 4
RSVP: please email names and mobile numbers of participants by May 18 to communications.ras.bj@gmail.com, and write Beida” in the subject header
HOW MUCH: RMB 30 for RASBJ members, RMB 50 for non-members

The lush gardens and serene paths of Peking University’s campus resembles the traditional gardens of the nearby Old Summer palace; and yet the campus was originally home to a missionary college, and these “traditional gardens” were designed by an American architect, Henry Murphy. Murphy’s design blends Eastern and Western architectural features in a unique harmony of design. On this walk through the campus, we will explore the former glory of Murphy’s design of Yenching University.  After 1952, when Yenching University was shut, Peking University moved into this campus and has called it home to this day.  We’ll also discuss the history of the site, a brief overview of higher education in China, and the history of academic exchanges between East and West in China. Some of the characters in this story are:
• Henry Murphy, the Yale-trained architect who so successfully mimicked Chinese garden design.
• John Leighton Stuart, the University President turned Ambassador who was scathingly critiqued by Mao.
• Grace Morrison Boynton, an English teacher at Yenching University who witnessed first-hand the communist takeover in 1949.
• Edgar Snow, famed journalist who helped found the Yenching University Department of Journalism.
• Bing Xin, one of China’s most famous authors who not only graduated from Yenjing University, but also returned to teach.

Rosie Levine grew up in Beijing as a child and returned to America at age nine.  Striving to understand to her second home led her to specialize in History, Asian Languages & Cultures, and Museum Studies at the University of Michigan. After graduation, Rosie moved back to Beijing where she began researching the history of Beijing. She is now working for the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center, a Chinese NGO that works to preserve, protect and promote the unique cultural heritage of Beijing, and pursuing an M.A. in Chinese Studies at Yenching Academy (Peking University) to deepen her knowledge of Chinese history. She regularly gives walking tours of Beijing’s hutongs and other historic sites.


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