International Studies at the University of Washington – The First Ninety Years
by Felicia J. Hecker
NINETY YEARS AGO, the entire student body and faculty of the University of Washington were invited to attend in the University Auditorium a lecture by the Reverend Herbert H. Gowen, newly appointed to the Chair of Oriental Subjects. The occasion of this formal affair on 11 May 1909 at 8:30 in the evening was the inaugural address by Reverend Gowen, which celebrated the intent of the University to establish a Department of Oriental Subjects at the University of Washington. Even at the time, the University community sensed the importance of the evening’s mission, inviting Seattle’s preeminent jurist and civic leader, Judge Thomas Burke, to preside.[i] All faculty and seniors were instructed to appear in cap and gown. A front-page article the next day in the UW Daily described the evening’s pageantry reporting, “For the first time the university faculty sat on the stage of the new Auditorium [within a few months to be renamed Meany Hall] clad in the vari-colored hoods, their appearance adding to the impressiveness of the scene.”[ii]
The Jackson School Centennial Report
What was begun that evening ninety years ago is commemorated here almost a century later in a brief retrospective of the men and events that pioneered the development of international studies at the University of Washington beginning with a small unit known as Oriental Subjects and evolving ultimately into the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies.[iii] Reverend Gowen delivered a speech that night titled “The Significance of the Orient to the State,” the content of which, in many ways, is still timely. He spoke forcefully to the academic community saying, “there is no immodesty in magnifying the importance of any steps taken on this Coast to establish a better understanding with the Orient” justifying this statement by stressing the “commercial and industrial importance of the Orient to ourselves.” He summed up his remarks by pointing out the necessity of promoting and cultivating a well-informed citizenry. It would be the aim of the department “not to teach opinions, but .. to stimulate thought, to aid in the collection of information and the distribution of such means for correct judgment as may be of service.”[iv]
The Regents could hardly have selected a man of more prodigious energy and talents than Reverend Herbert H. Gowen to head its newest department. Gowen graduated from St. Augustine’s College, Canterbury, England, in 1886 and was ordained a deacon of the Anglican Church the same year. Missionary work took him to Honolulu, where he ministered to the Chinese and native Hawaiian community teaching himself Cantonese and Hawaiian; and making one of the earliest botanical collections for Hawaii, earning for himself an appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in the process. By 1896 Gowen had moved on to hold the position of curate of the Cathedral and rector of St. Barnabas Church, New Westminster, British Columbia. In 1897, through the influence of Seattle’s British Consul Bernard Pelly, he was invited to take up the position of rector of Seattle’s Protestant Episcopal Trinity Church. In 1908 he founded St. Peter’s Japanese Mission in Seattle while continuing his work at Trinity.
By 1909, Reverend Gowen had established himself in Seattle as a noted authority on the Eastern world. He was trained in classical Arabic, Sanskrit, and Hebrew and had taught himself Chinese and Japanese, so it was not a surprise that the UW Regents turned to him to head its new Department of Oriental Studies. Thus, at the age of forty-five, Gowen embarked on a new career as university professor, while continuing his duties at Trinity, a position he resigned in 1914 when the University formalized the status of the Department of Oriental Studies.
Gowen brought to his new work an incredible energy and scholarly productivity. From 1909 until 1929, he taught the majority of the courses offered in the department. His teaching load for spring term 1919 was typically demanding: “History of Japan: MWF; Literature of Persia: MTWThF; Semitic Literature: W; Sanskrit: W; Hebrew: arranged; and History of Religion: MTWThF. At the same time, Gowen administered the department without staff support, remained active in local church affairs and the social scene, while producing scholarly work in almost staggering proportion. In 1913 he published his first work (frequently revised and reprinted) of Asian scholarship, titled An Outline History of China, which was followed over the next twenty years by An Outline History of Japan, A History of Indian Literature, and A History of Religion. Apart from these major works, Gowen published over 150 shorter scholarly articles and reviews during his tenure at the University from 1909 to 1945.
Gowen was just the man at the turn of the last century to promote Asian studies at the University and in the greater Seattle area. He was admired throughout the Seattle community (the chimes in the Florence Henry Chapel, the Highlands, were dedicated “in loving appreciation of the ministrations of Herbert H. Gowen” in 1929) and respected by his colleagues at the University where he developed enduring friendships with strong supporters of international studies, such as David Thomson, who ultimately became vice-president of the University and for whom the building which now houses the department is named. Nonetheless, even Gowen was faced with obstacles as he strove to develop the department. Between 1909 and 1929, he tried repeatedly to establish the instruction of Chinese and Japanese languages as a permanent fixture of the curriculum, which proved only partly successful. After years of offering Japanese intermittently, Gowen succeeded in acquiring a permanent part-time instructor position for the teaching of Japanese, to which Henry S. Tatsumi was appointed. Tatsumi would be the department’s main Japanese-language instructor for the next forty years.[v] A permanent position for Chinese remained unfulfilled.
What Gowen did succeed at wonderfully was educating the greater Seattle area in the early part of this century about East and West Asia. Through his courses, which year after year were fully subscribed with enrollments of seventy or more students; his public lectures through which he became one of Seattle’s most popular after-dinner speakers; and his cultivation of colleagues at the University who were interested in promoting international studies, his efforts developed a commitment to non-Western studies at the University and in the Pacific Northwest, which is the foundation for much of what has been accomplished in the last ninety years in this arena.
By 1929 at the age of sixty-five, Gowen was beginning to seek some relief from the administrative burdens of running a department, and let the administration know that it was time to begin a search for his replacement. Gowen succinctly described the qualities he deemed necessary for the holder of the position, saying that the candidate should possess a “scholarly attitude towards Oriental problems,” with a “marked teaching ability … prepared to accept larger responsibility in due course .. and should stand in the community as interested in the Orient and prepared to render public service along this line.”[vi] He continued to emphasize the importance of the position, writing, “Our opportunity is second to none in the country for the building up of an Oriental Department of significance.”[vii]
The man selected to succeed Gowen was Robert Thomas Pollard, appointed assistant professor of Oriental Studies on a salary of $2,800 for the academic year commencing 1 October 1931.[viii] Pollard, who was thirty-four, had just received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota writing a dissertation on China’s foreign relations since 1917. Within a year, Pollard was appointed the executive officer of the Department of Oriental Studies; and Gowen had departed for Japan at the invitation of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church to take up a position at the Central Theological College in Tokyo. This marked the end of the Gowen administrative era, though he returned after a year to carry a 75% teaching load up until 1938, finally retiring formally from the University on 1 July 1944 at the age of eighty.
Pollard brought a new perspective to the department. He was trained in the new field of political science, was familiar with the emerging scholarship in the social sciences, and acquainted with young scholars in the field through his teaching experience at St. John’s University in Shanghai (1923-26) and at Ohio State University (1927-29). By 1933 his own scholarship was receiving national recognition as his first book China’s Foreign Relations: 1917-1931 (Macmillan) won the G. L. Beer Award and was favorably reviewed in the New York Times and New York Herald Tribune.
The 1930s, however, proved a difficult period. What hopes Pollard might have had for strengthening the department were repeatedly dashed for want of funds. Year after year, the legislature cut support to the University. With Gowen’s salary consuming 50% of the department’s entire budget, Pollard had very little to work with. Still, even as faculty salaries were being cut, he managed to find support for able students in the department. In 1934, during some of the harshest financial times, Pollard secured extra funds from Dean of Humanities Edward H. Lauer to support a promising undergraduate named Maurice Schwartz who would serve as a reader to Pollard and attend to clerical tasks in the department for $19 a month. It was an investment that paid off in a very big way when Maurice Schwartz donated $607,306 in the 1980s and 1990s to support students in non-Western studies at the University. Schwartz, however, was only one of many able students who benefited from Pollard’s concern for their welfare.
The department did make some modest progress under Pollard’s leadership in these lean years. In 1933, Pollard hired Ivar Spector as a part-time instructor in Russian. Spector’s position eventually developed into full-time and paved the way for regular offerings in the Russian language, as well as teaching Hebrew and Arabic when there was sufficient demand. In 1936 Pollard was able to snare Knight Biggerstaff for the department, with the aid of a subvention from the Rockefeller Foundation. Biggerstaff, who would later become one of the giants in the field of Chinese studies, was at the very beginning of his academic career and Pollard recognized the quality of his work. Pollard wrote the dean, saying of Biggerstaff, “With his linguistic equipment and his special training in Chinese history, he is handling the work in Chinese history more capably than it has been handled since the organization of the department.”[ix] Pollard fought hard to keep Biggerstaff on his faculty, but it was a losing battle. Once Biggerstaff’s ground-breaking work An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Chinese Reference Works was published, a volume that would train generations of Sinologists and remains useful to this day, the UW could not match the offers of the Eastern schools and Biggerstaff went on to Cornell.
Nonetheless, Biggerstaff left an important legacy at the University. Working with Pollard, he applied for the first grant the department was to receive from the Rockefeller Foundation, which supported the acquisition of Chinese-language and history materials for the library. This grant of $4,200 was the first step toward building the superb collection of Asian materials the University now owns.
The loss of Biggerstaff at the end of summer term 1938 was one of the hardest blows Pollard had endured in his tenure. Pollard, a confirmed bachelor who lived in the Edmond Meany Hotel, was by nature a quiet man of rather frail constitution. He was carrying an usually heavy teaching load of 17.5 hours a week, administering the department with little or no staff, and struggling to advance the program under the most trying financial times, when he died suddenly of a heart attack on 12 April 1939 at the age of forty-two. The loss was a shock to the many students and faculty who had come to rely on his quiet counsel and friendship. A letter signed by the faculty of the Political Science Department, published in the UW Daily the day after his death, expressed the genuine sense of loss felt by the faculty, as well as it captured Pollard’s special qualities: “No more will we, aggravated by teapot tempests trek to Denny Hall, to have perspective and composure restored by contact with your equanimity.”[x]
When Knight Biggerstaff resigned from the University, a replacement had to be found quickly to cover his teaching responsibilities in Chinese language and history. Pollard wrote to Frederick Schultheis, a former student of Gowen’s who had graduated from the UW in 1929, received an M.A. at Columbia, and gone on to take up a position as librarian and instructor of Chinese at the College of Chinese Studies in Beijing. Schultheis jumped at the offer and returned to the UW to begin teaching Chinese in the fall of 1938. Shortly after arriving, Schultheis wrote to a friend of his at Yenching University in Beijing saying:
Our department is fairly strong and getting stronger. It’s called “Oriental Studies,” which covers the usual multitude of sins—ranging from Russian history to Aramaic. Pollard, R.T. is the boss—a good man…Which brings me to this. Pollard wants to add another man to the department… Now then—P. asked me to suggest someone and I convinced him that you’d be the Man, none other.[xi]
Schultheis had addressed his letter to George E. Taylor, little knowing at the time how prophetic his words would prove to be.
George Taylor, educated at the University of Birmingham, England, Johns Hopkins, and Harvard, had spent the better part of the 1930s in China. He went to China first as a student on a Harvard-Yenching Fellowship; later became a professor of history at the Central Political Institute, Nanking; and finally served as a tutor in Political Science at Yenching University in Beijing. This last position was a project sponsored jointly by Oxford University and the Chinese government and was an attempt to establish a modified tutorial system at the university level using Oxford’s Modern Greats curriculum. Early in 1937, Taylor, also active in the Chinese resistance movement, made contact with guerrilla forces through an agent in Beijing and began to aid the resistance by facilitating the smuggling of funds and medical supplies into central Hopei. In late 1938, Taylor’s activities had been discovered by the Japanese secret police, making his stay in China ever more perilous. This, combined with a lack of definite continuing support for his position from Oxford, coincided with an offer he received on 13 May 1939 from the University of Washington to join its faculty as Acting Executive Officer of the Department of Oriental Studies. Taylor cabled back to Dean Lauer three weeks later that he would accept the position. The University had taken only one month to identify the man who would replace Robert T. Pollard.
Taylor, who was well connected with the East Coast scholarly establishment, realized he was about to enter a world quite different from his previous academic experience. Before he had even taken up his position, he received a letter of encouragement from his friend and adviser at Johns Hopkins, Owen Lattimore, saying of his new appointment, “there is the possibility that it may lead to a better offer elsewhere… [or] that the job itself may grow bigger and better… the situation is obviously provincial [but] I think you will get unusually good support for such things as building a library… Far Eastern studies are much too much concentrated in the Cambridge-New York-Washington area. Eventually, there must be a compensating development in the West; and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be one of the people to start it.”[xii] Lattimore’s assessment was as succinct as it was astute. George Taylor would, indeed, be one of the pioneers of Far Eastern studies on the West Coast.
Taylor entered a department lacking direction and demoralized by the sudden loss of Robert Pollard. His initial impression of the group he was to lead was summed up a few weeks after arriving remarking: “There is old Dr. Gowen who wears a beard and radiates culture, thereby giving distinction to an otherwise rather undistinguished department.”[xiii] But Taylor was undaunted writing to John K. Fairbank of Harvard, “I have, of course..dreams. One is to take full advantage of the strategic position of Seattle and to develop her both teaching and research in the modern economic and political problems of the Far East.” And in a note to Biggerstaff he confirmed his optimism, saying, “I am having the time of my life here.”[xiv]
It was not long before Taylor was moving on his vision for the department. Within a year he had changed its name to the Department of Far Eastern Studies. He rapidly secured good connections with the departments of political science, history, and economics and with the administration of the University. After only two months on the UW faculty, Taylor had cemented such cordial relations with Charles Martin, chair of Political Science, that their correspondence regularly opened with “Dear Martini” or “Dear Georgius Rex.”
What Taylor was undertaking was a complete reorganization of the old department of Oriental Studies. He described clearly his plans, writing that he intended:
to build up what could be more rightly called a Department of Far Eastern Studies to concentrate upon China, Japan, Eastern Siberia, the southern Pacific, and American policies and interest in the Pacific. The offerings of the department at the moment are far too scattered, they are unrelated to any common purpose, unconnected by any living stream of research… It is our ambition not to be a second-rate imitation of the eastern schools, but a first-rate pioneer in the development of a school of Far Eastern Politics, History, and Economics, etc., with a team of men who have a common purpose.”[xv]
Well connected in the field and possessing an unerring sense of scholarly promise, Taylor worked from the moment he took up his new position to put into place this special team of men that would ultimately transform the department. His first priority was to develop Japanese studies and the person he sought was E.H. Norman, a brilliant young Canadian who had just published Japan’s Emergence as a Modern State, a work that would prove to be a classic in the field.[xvi] After two years of continuous letter writing, Taylor managed to bring Norman to the UW for a brief period in 1941-42, when, in addition to teaching Japanese history, he aided the library in developing its Japanese collection; but he was soon off again on diplomatic service for the Canadian government. Nonetheless, it is apparent from this first appointment that Taylor was aiming to secure the very best people for the department, those who were bringing new and challenging perspectives to the field.
Taylor himself was drawn away from the University during much of the early years of the 1940s, though he managed to participate in the department’s affairs from long range. In 1941-42 Taylor was in New York working under the auspices of the Rockefeller Foundation in cooperation with the Institute of Pacific Relations to write his America in the New Pacific. On 2 November 1942, he received a letter from the Office of War Information drafting him into the position of Principal Directive Writer in the Overseas Branch of the Office of War Information and requiring that he report for duty in Washington, D.C., by early December. Fortunately, only six months earlier Taylor had hired an assistant professor named Franz H. Michael. Throughout the war years, it would be Michael who would direct the department in Seattle, while Taylor stayed involved, as much as possible, from Washington. They proved a superb team in a difficult time.
Michael, who received his Ph.D. from Freiburg University in political science and law in 1933, knew Taylor from China and later Johns Hopkins. His potential was already apparent in his first work on the late Ching period titled The Origins of Manchu Rule in China: Frontier and Bureaucracy as Interacting Forces in the Chinese Empire. Taylor designated Michael the acting chair of the department. Before leaving for Washington, Taylor wrote to Seattle’s chief of police pleading for the removal of an 8:00 p.m. curfew and the prohibition on movement beyond a five-mile radius of the campus imposed upon Michael as a German resident alien. The request was granted and Michael was able to carry out his professional duties unimpeded.[xvii] In short order, Michael’s loyalty to the American cause was substantiated as far as the government authorities were concerned when he spearheaded an Army Specialized Training Program run through the department.
This training program was designed to prepare Army enlisted men to take up service in military governments in occupied territories of the Far East. The program allowed students one year to gain proficiency in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, as well as a solid understanding of the socio-economic, institutional, historical, and geographical settings of these societies. Through the leadership of Franz Michael, a truly interdisciplinary program, which saw the participation and cooperation of many UW departments, was organized to meet this wartime challenge. The program was extended in the fall of 1944 to include civilian students.
Taylor was also engaged in ground-breaking interdisciplinary work. During his tenure at the Office of War Information, he established the Foreign Morale Analysis Division to study Japanese value systems, recruiting twenty-five noted social scientists including Alexander Leighton, Clyde Kluckhohn, and Ruth Benedict.[xviii] Michael and Taylor’s wartime efforts to further cross-disciplinary studies would serve a blueprint for the type of research the Far Eastern Studies department would engage in after the war.
Taylor, Michael, Dean Lauer, and president of the University, L. P. Sieg, worked in concert during the fall of 1944 to secure the first substantial funding the department was to receive from the Rockefeller Foundation. The foundation had invited institutions in the West to make proposals for the funding of programs in Far Eastern studies, which would be cross disciplinary and would foster new work in the area of the social sciences. In an amplification of the UW’s proposal submitted by Michael to the foundation, Sieg addressed the delicate issues of interdepartmental cooperation and the organization of this new unit, writing:
We find the old tug of war existing between isolated departments and efforts to get these departments to operate together. It is entirely understandable that certain departments in our University might feel a legitimate resentment against placing in one department, like that of the Far East, the wide variety of courses which we contemplate. It is our hope, however, that through negotiation we can establish an overlying, all-University division which overrides departments and colleges and which, even though established, would still leave to departments and colleges their particular disciplines. establishing an institute it seems to me that departments will not reluctantly, but eagerly, join in offering their special services for students who may elect those courses piecemeal or may elect to register wholly within the broad division. The operation of such a division would be under a board with a chairman. This board would function directly under the President just as the separate colleges of the University function. This board would have the status, virtually of that of a dean of a college.[xix]
On 6 December 1944, President Sieg received a letter from the Rockefeller Foundation granting the University of Washington $75,000 for the development of Far Eastern and Slavic studies through invitations to foreign scholars to reside for unspecified lengths of time at the University. The award was to be for seven years commencing 1 January 1945.
Franz Michael wasted no time in deciding how to expend the funds. Two weeks after receiving notice of the award, he was writing to Wilma Fairbank at the Department of State, asking her to send via diplomatic pouch a letter of invitation to a “young, driving, well qualified Chinese scholar… [who is] brilliant and most energetic, with a main interest in philosophy.”[xx] The scholar he had so described was Vincent Y.C. Shih, who would become one of the stars in the Far Eastern program, with a distinguished career of teaching and publishing over the course of the next thirty years at the UW.
The Rockefeller grant also served as the impetus for action on the grander plans Taylor had in mind. Although he would not formally be released from service to the Office of War Information until 1 March 1946, Taylor was able to attend a meeting of great significance held in the office of President Sieg at 9:00 a.m. on 24 April 1945. At that meeting, Sieg established the Far Eastern Institute and formalized its interdepartmental status. The Institute was to coordinate existing teaching and research facilities relating to the Far East (including the Soviet Union) and “be responsible for the planning of future development of Far Eastern studies in the University” as well as “administer such funds as may be allocated to it for that purpose.” Sieg also formalized the hierarchy of the Institute’s management along the lines he had spelled out in his letter to the Rockfeller Foundation. The overarching philosophy of the Institute was to “promote and provide for continuing research on Far Eastern problems among both faculty and students . .. by applying the principle of unit research and by the application of an interdisciplinary approach to research problems. Long-range and short-range research projects will be established and continued under the leadership of the Institute.”[xxi]
By 1949, the old Department of Far Eastern Studies had been renamed the Department of Far Eastern and Slavic Languages and Literature. It remained at the heart of the newly formed Far Eastern and Russian Institute, serving as the center for language learning and developing courses in the humanities, while the Institute led the way in the social sciences. This close connection between the Institute and Department was sustained until 1968.
When Taylor returned to the UW in 1946, much of the groundwork already had been laid to begin to fulfill his dream of a truly interdisciplinary program. Moreover, his goals coincided with a period of generous financial support from private foundations in the United States. Between 1947 and 1957 the Rockefeller Foundation awarded the Far Eastern and Russian Institute $255,000 to build up the Far Eastern Library, subsidize the work of Karl A. Wittfogel, initiate preliminary studies on machine translation, and underwrite faculty research in Northeast Asia. During the same period, the Carnegie Foundation awarded the institute $225,000 for research on Mongolia and Tibet; the Ford Foundation awarded $390,460 to support faculty research on East Asia; and the Human Relations Area Files Inc. at Yale University granted the Institute $269,225 to develop a handbook on China. Even Taylor was astounded at his success, writing to Karl Wittfogel, “I am still trying to get accustomed to the idea of having all this wealth.”[xxii]
One of the very first recipients of funding was Karl A. Wittfogel, a long-time friend of Taylor’s who had undertaken a massive project at Columbia University analyzing and translating primary source materials on Chinese history. Taylor, recognizing the originality of Wittfogel’s scholarship, worked out a plan in 1947 to support his research at Columbia’s Low Memorial Library, which required him to perform one-quarter of teaching service annually at the UW. The results of this creative arrangement were impressive, culminating in the publication of the History of Chinese Society: Liao, facilitating the writing of Wittfogel’s Oriental Despotism, and training a generation of young scholars in research techniques.
This remarkable flow of money into the Institute enabled Taylor to bring together a dynamic group of scholars who were organized around four major projects: the Modern Chinese History Project, the Inner Asia Project, the Russia in Asia Project, and the Modern Japan Seminar. During the late 1940s and through the 1950s, Taylor and Michael searched internationally for the best scholars they could find to bring to Seattle. Over the course of the next twenty years they assembled a group that transformed the University’s reputation from a provincial backwater in Far Eastern and Russian studies to one of the country’s premier institutions of higher learning. In addition to Vincent Y.C. Shih and Karl Wittfogel, Taylor and Michael recruited Hellmut Wilhelm, Hsiao Kung-ch’uan, Li Fang-kuei, Erwin Reifler, Lo Jung-pang, Marius B. Jansen, John Maki, and Turrell Wylie on the Asian side of the program; and Nikolai Poppe, Victor Erlich, Donald W. Treadgold, John Reshetar, and Peter Sugar on the Russian/East European side. These scholars possessed a unique combination of classical and modern training, which coalesced at the Institute and produced some of the most innovative scholarship and teaching of the twentieth century. Many of their publications became classics and remain important to this day. The breadth and significance of the research done under the auspices of the Institute’s projects was remarkable. Just a short list of the books published with its aid gives an indication of how far Taylor’s aim to create a first-rate center of interdisciplinary studies had come by the late 1950s: Chang chung-li’s The Chinese Gentry; Taylor and Michael’s The Far East in the Modern World; Treadgold’s Lenin and His Rival and Twentieth-Century Russia; Hsiao Kung-chuan’s Rural China: Imperial Control in the Nineteenth Century, A Modern China and a New World: Kang Yu-wei, and Political Pluralism: A Study in Contemporary Political Theory; Vincent Shih’s The Taiping Ideology and The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons; Marius Jansen’s The Japanese and Sun Yat-sen; Michael and Chang’s History of the Taiping Rebellion; and Poppe’s Grammar of Written Mongolian.
While Taylor was engaged in developing and expanding the Institute and Department, he was also actively involved in the development of major educational trends at the national level. In the late 1940s, Taylor was appointed to the World Area Research Committee of the Social Science Research Council. The committee was a key force in defining and setting the standards for area studies. In 1959 he became the first chairman of the Joint Committee on Contemporary China (American Council of Learned Societies/Social Science Research Council) and in 1963 was appointed to the Board of Foreign Scholarships by President John F. Kennedy. Taylor’s active role in designing international education nationally put the Institute in an excellent position to compete for funds from the federal government in response to the formation of national Title VI centers under the National Defense Education Act of 1959.
The 1960s was an era of significant increase in federal support for international education. Beginning in 1959 and continuing through the end of the 1960s, the Institute applied annually for NDEA funding in the Title VI program. The first center funded in 1960 received a grant of $21,260; the final application the Institute made for a unified center in 1968-69 was awarded $116,000. By the end of the 1960s, the Institute and its programs had received a total of $845,627 in funding for Far Eastern (including South Asia) and Russian studies.
Two other important grants were received during the 1960s. The Ford Foundation awarded $1.5 million over ten years for faculty research programs; and the Scaife Family Foundation donated $108,000 to establish a fellowship program named in honor of Herbert Gowen, which brought students from Asian and African countries to earn degrees in language and area programs with the purpose of returning to their home countries to establish similar courses of study.
The 1960s drew to a close with two major upheavals: the reorganization of the Far Eastern and Russian Institute and the Department of Far Eastern and Slavic Languages and Literature; and the retirement of George Taylor. It was becoming clear to Taylor that the Institute and Department relationship was outdated. He advocated the establishment of a School of International Studies with a more truly global mission than the old Institute. The language and literature element of the department he envisioned being separated into autonomous departments. In a memo to Dean Philip W. Cartwright, Taylor wrote:
A School of International Studies…would provide for extension into other regional groupings, such as Latin America and Africa… Non-western studies are now sufficiently developed to make a decisive contribution to international, especially comparative, politics and therefore to the theoretical development of the social science disciplines… A School of International Studies would therefore give non-western studies a significant and appropriate location… I, suggest, therefore, that you consider very seriously the establishment of a School of International Studies.[xxiii]
Taylor’s suggestion was only partly heeded. On 16 August 1968, the Board of Regents “approved the recommendation of the College that the Department of Far Eastern and Slavic Languages and Literature be divided into two new departments: 1) the Department of Asian Languages and Literature and 2) the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature. This change is to be effective September 1, 1968.”[xxiv] The Far Eastern and Russian Institute was left more or less intact to administer its degrees through faculty groups for each of the regional areas of the Far East, Russia, and Eastern Europe.
The timing of this restructuring was difficult, colliding with the aging of the distinguished faculty Taylor had brought in during the 40s and 50s. Many of these people were near retirement, had worked for years under an integrated system that made full use of their broad scholarly training, and now felt they had been relegated to isolated, specialized departments of language and literature. Only time would heal these problems.
In 1969, at the age of sixty-five, George Taylor retired from the directorship of the Far Eastern and Russian Institute. His energy and vision were paramount to the development of international studies at the UW and in the United States. A fine scholar, who combined talents for administration and leadership with diplomacy, Taylor carried international studies into a new era. He had the rare ability to identify scholarly promise in others, to nurture that promise by providing an arena in which it could flourish, and to see that it ultimately was brought to a productive culmination. He led the Institute and Department into a period of its greatest prominence, a time remembered as the heyday of Far Eastern and Russian studies at the University.
The first half of the decade of the 1970s saw retrenchment at the Institute, a solidification of the alignments between the Institute and the new departments of languages and literature as they developed their own identities, and a wave of faculty retirements. George M. Beckmann, who had only recently joined the Institute’s faculty as an East Asian specialist, took over the leadership of the Institute on Taylor’s retirement.[xxv] During Beckmann’s tenure, Taylor’s desire to see a change in the name of the entity he had created was effected, although it was not the name Taylor had suggested. On 22 June 1971, the Board of Regents approved the change in name from the Far Eastern and Russian Institute to the Institute for Comparative and Foreign Area Studies. Growth in international studies on campus made the original name inadequate. It was apparent that many smaller entities representing scholarly and pedagogical interest in other regions of the world such as the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America were forming quickly. Already faculty had created independent programs outside the Institute’s stated sphere of influence. The eminent legal scholar and Arab grammarian, Farhat Ziadeh, for example, had founded the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literature in 1968, organized a Middle East Studies program, and was aiming toward applying for Title VI funding on his own. Shortly after the Institute was renamed, Donald C. Hellmann, the new acting director of the Institute for Comparative and Foreign Area Studies, invited the Middle East and African programs to apply for affiliation with the new Institute.[xxvi] During Hellmann’s tenure, the Institute also added a new Comparative Religion program, expanding into topical areas of expertise as well as regional.
“It fell to Herbert J. Ellison, director from 1972 to 77, to finally fulfill Taylor’s original suggestion for a new name. On 3 June 1976 Ellison wrote to UW President John R. Hogness: “We..plan to change the name of our Institute to School of International Studies and to develop the program additions which will place us in the ranks of the five or six comprehensive centers of international studies in this country (none of which is presently located on the West Coast).”
Ellison’s tenure as director saw an increase in federal support through the US Department of Education’s Title VI program. No longer was a single proposal submitted for a Far Eastern and Russian center. Now four regional centers were successfully competing for funding—East Asia, Russia, South Asia, and Middle East. During this period, the Japan Studies program saw a major infusion of funds, receiving a grant of $1 million from the Japanese government, which permitted the establishment in 1974 of the Journal of Japanese Studies. The journal became a vehicle for a young group of Japan scholars at the School to give national leadership to the field of Japanese studies. For more than a quarter of a century the journal has been edited by the School’s pre-modern Japan historian Susan B. Hanley. At the same time, however, support from private foundations, so generous in the past, was beginning to recede, and it was unclear how the wave of retirements would affect the program. In response, Ellison was beginning to plan a major fund-raising campaign in late 1976 aimed at the private business sector in an effort to revitalize the School’s programs. Ellison’s plans were cut short when he was appointed Secretary of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington, D.C., in 1977.
It was Kenneth B. Pyle who would take up where Ellison left off and, over the course of the next ten years, bring the School to new levels of excellence, carrying it into a second period of great flourishing. Pyle joined the faculty in 1965, and Taylor, keen as ever to spot talent, sized him up as “ a young scholar with great potential as a Japanese historian and of outstanding competence in the Japanese language.”[xxvii] What Taylor did not know at that point was how far this young scholar would take the School into the rapidly changing world of international education by revitalizing its programs.
In the summer of 1978, Pyle presented himself at Senator Henry M. Jackson’s office in Washington, D.C., seeking fund-raising support. Though the Senator was away, his aide promised that the Senator would follow up. Indeed, a few months later, Senator Jackson visited Pyle in his office in Thomson Hall, and for over two hours, they discussed the national need for research and training in international affairs and the role the School should play in this effort. At the end of the conversation, Jackson said, “I want to help.”[xxviii] Jackson immediately enlisted the support of T.A. Wilson, CEO of Boeing; Edward Carlson, CEO, United Airlines; and other distinguished business and community leaders to kick-off the first endowment campaign for the School. Jackson himself pledged $5,000, and from that point onward contributed his honoraria for speaking engagements to the endowment, the last check arriving just two months before his death in 1983. Between 1978 and 1983, Senator Jackson spoke at innumerable fund-raising events on behalf of the School, approached major contributors, and personally wrote notes of appreciation for contributions received. Pyle, who worked closely with Senator Jackson throughout this period, was able to write later, “Senator Jackson had an extraordinary commitment to the future of the School of International Studies…. more than anyone else I have encountered outside the University, Senator Jackson believed in the importance of international studies.”[xxix]
On 15 September 1983, the Board of Regents approved another name change for the School, making it the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies in commemoration of the Senator’s distinguished career in foreign affairs, his commitment to international education, and his unflagging support of the School. Over the next years the Henry M. Jackson Foundation would provide generous support to the School’s programs.
The tenure of Kenneth Pyle saw the development of generous support from private donors. In 1979, Chester Fritz, a 1914 graduate of the University of Washington, donated $1.5 million to the School, writing that the contribution was “in appreciation of the training I received as a student and graduate of the University of Washington, and also to assist worthy students to attend college who otherwise could not.”[xxx] Pyle was able to use the Fritz endowment to rebuild the China program by hiring a new generation of scholars, including Elizabeth Perry and Nicholas R. Lardy, which restored the School’s national leadership in this field. The Mellon Foundation provided endowment funds for further developing East Asian studies and supported the leading scholarly work of James Palais and Bruce Cumings in Korean studies. In 1987, $1.2 million was donated to the School’s Japan Program. The distinguished economic historian Kozo Yamamura was the first holder of this endowed chair.
It was under Kenneth Pyle’s leadership that the School became truly international in its outlook and curriculum. During his tenure as director, with an additional million dollars provided by Fritz, he established at the undergraduate level a new track devoted to international studies, as well as a master’s degree in international studies offered in cooperation with the University’s professional schools. The result of these innovations, Pyle wrote, was “to offer our students a curriculum that is much more varied, but better integrated and more focused, as well as more relevant to the range of vocational interests of today’s students who are planning careers in international affairs.”[xxxi] As a consequence of Pyle’s efforts to expand students’ exposure to careers in diplomatic and policy-making roles, Julia Fisher Hamilton, a member of an old Seattle family, provided an endowment to bring distinguished diplomats to the School to assist in teaching new courses focused on policy studies.
Further strengthening the School’s commitment to the education and placement of its students, Pyle also added student support services in career counseling, internships, and overseas study. The new directions Pyle was leading the School resulted in the funding of an additional Title VI center concentrating on international studies. This comprehensive center has become the School’s largest degree-granting center and has developed into the premier federally funded center in the nation under the leadership of Middle East/international studies specialists Joel S. Migdal and Resat Kasaba.
By the time Kenneth Pyle stepped down from the directorship in 1988, the School had been revitalized and transformed by new programs and new faculty. In addition to Asia, Russia, Middle East, and South Asia, regional committees on Canadian, Southeast Asian, and West European studies had been formed, and a new topical program in Jewish Studies was established through funds from Samuel and Althea Stroum and the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.
From 1988 to 1989, John O. Haley, a scholar of Japanese law and member of the UW Law School, briefly directed the School, reorganizing its administration and centralizing its advising in an Office of Student Services. Jack Dull, the first director to have graduated from the old Department of Far Eastern and Russian Studies, and a specialist in Chinese history, served as Acting Director from 1989 to 1991, when Nicholas R. Lardy was appointed for a five-year tenure from 1991 to 1995.
During these years, the School’s regional committees in Canadian Studies, Southeast Asian Studies, and West European Studies developed into degree-granting programs and successfully competed for Title VI funding as comprehensive national resource centers. Lardy also reestablished the School’s longstanding connections to the Seattle business community—so vital during the Gowen, Taylor, and Pyle eras—which had languished in recent years. When Lardy resigned in 1995 to take up a position at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., Jere L. Bacharach, the current director, was appointed to the director’s position for a five-year term from 1995 to 2000.
Jere L. Bacharach represented a break from the past. Of the ten directors who have led the school, he was the first who did not specialize in either Asian or Russian studies. As a historian of the medieval Middle East, he was viewed consequently by many of the School’s faculty as an outsider. Although his legacy is yet to be written, he is, in fact, carrying on much of the tradition that has brought the School to its current prominence. Through his leadership, a new under-graduate major in Asian studies combining China, Japan, Korea, South, and Southeast Asian studies was created. This new initiative was one of the first projects to receive support from the UW’s Tools for Transformation Fund.
Bacharach has also continued to work closely with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation securing funding for major conferences and inaugurating the Henry M. Jackson Professorship in International Studies at the School. The first holder of this professorship will be Christine Wong, a Chinese economist. In the area of student internships, he was instrumental in establishing the Dorothy Fosdick Internship Endowment in memory of Senator Jackson’s long-time national security affairs adviser. During his tenure, the School also created the Leslianne Shedd Internship Fund, named in honor of a young graduate of the School’s International Studies program, who, while serving in the US Foreign Service, died in Africa.
Bacharach continues to lead the School into ever larger spheres of scholarly interest.[xxxii] By 1999, with its thirteen degree-granting programs, the School ranked tenth in the College of Arts and Sciences in number of enrolled majors. Herbert H. Gowen would have been pleased, though perhaps not surprised, to see how far the enterprise he inaugurated on a spring evening in 1909 and saw formalized by the University in 1914 had evolved and flourished in its ensuing ninety years. He wrote then that the mission of the department, in addition to the instruction of students, was to “put at the service of the community … mass of expert knowledge and investigation along various lines as shall form a practical bureau of information on Oriental subjects, a focus to which matters of illustrative importance will naturally converge, and a center from which knowledge may be disseminated for the general good.”[xxxiii]
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[i] The Regents chose Seattle’s most distinguished advocate of the East when they invited Thomas Burke to preside over the proceedings. Burke was a Seattle pioneer who built a law practice that took him from King County judge to Chief Justice of the State of Washington. He made his fortune as counsel for James J. Hill’s Great Northern Railway, in which capacity he managed to insure that Seattle became the railroad’s Pacific coast terminus, making the city a major port to East Asia. Credited with defusing the 1886 anti-Chinese riots in Seattle, Burke was also a frequent traveler to Japan, where he was decorated with the Third Order of the Sacred Treasure and the Fourth Order of the Rising Sun. He expired on 4 December 1925 in the midst of a speech to the Trustees of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace while pleading for “kindly courtesy, consideration, and neighborly feeling” toward Japan (see Charles T. Conover, Thomas Burke, 1849-1925 [Seattle: n.p., 1926]), pp. 53, 144-45.
[ii] UW Daily Wave: 12 May 1909.
[iii] From 1909-1914, the unit was known as Oriental Subjects. In 1914 departmental status was conferred and the name changed to Oriental Studies. The University catalogue continued, for many years, to refer to the Department of Oriental Subjects, however.
[v] Henry S. Tatsumi (1896-1991), received his B.A. (1932) and M.A. (1935) from the Department of Oriental Studies. He began teaching Japanese as an undergraduate teaching fellow in 1927; was promoted to assistant professor in 1941; and retired from the University in 1967.
[vi] Gowen to UW Dean M. Lyle Spencer: 16 December 1929.
[vii] Gowen to Raymond Leslie Buell, Foreign Policy Association, New York: 6 January 1931.
[viii] Pollard was the second choice. Thomas A. Bisson (1900-91) was the first choice. Bisson turned down the University’s down when he received a more generous offer from the prestigious Foreign Policy Association, becoming the editor of its Pacific Affairs. Bisson was active in policy-making in post war Japan, ultimately writing Prospects for Democracy in Japan, and Zaibatsu Dissolution in Japan, seminal works of economic and political analysis (for his career, see Howard B. Schonberg, Aftermath of the War: American and the Remaking of Japan [Kent State University Press, 1989], chapter 4: “T.A. Bisson: The Limits of Reform in Occupied Japan.”
[ix] Pollard to Lauer: 1 February 1938.
[x] UW Daily: 13 April 1939.
[xi] Schultheis to George Taylor: 19 November 1938.
[xii] Lattimore to Taylor: 30 July 1939. Owen Lattimore was the University’s first choice for the job. Lattimore (1900-1989) was to become the foremost authority on the China-Russia frontier, publishing, among much else, Inner Asian Frontiers of China; Asia in a New World Order; and The Making of Modern China. His life is also remarkable for his role as an academic victim at the hands of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who, in 1950, accused him of being a communist. His scholarly career was disrupted by these accusations until he was completely exonerated in 1958.
[xiii] Taylor to Edmund Clubb, US Embassy, Beijing: 23 October 1939.
[xiv] Taylor to Fairbank: 18 October 1939 (John K. Fairbank [1907-91], perhaps, the premier twentieth-century American Sinologist, aided Taylor in the early months of his new teaching career as he drew up his syllabus); Taylor to Biggerstaff: 23 October 1939.
[xv] Taylor to Elmer Cutts: January 11, 1940.
[xvi] E.H. Norman (1909-57) went on to publish such notable works as Soldier and Peasant in Japan and Feudal Background of Japanese Politics. He is remembered also for the unfortunate circumstances of his death—a suicide in 1957, while serving as the Canadian Ambassador to Egypt. Norman was implicated in communist activities by Karl A. Wittfogel in 1952 at the McCarthy hearings. The US Senate reopened its investigation of Norman in 1957, contributing, some believe, to his depressed state of mind at the time of his suicide.
[xvii] Taylor to Herbert Kimsey and L.P. Sieg: 6 October 1942.
[xviii] These scholars would produce innovative works drawing on their wartime research. Alexander Leighton (1908—) published The Governing of Men and Human Relations in a Changing World; Clyde Kluckhohn (1905-60) published Mirror for Man; and Ruth Benedict (1887-1948), published The Chrysanthemum and the Sword.
[xix]L.P. Sieg to David H. Stevens, Humanities Office, Rockefeller Foundation: 16 October 1944
[xx] Michael to W. Fairbank: 20 December 1944.
[xxi] Memorandum of understanding from Sieg to Taylor: 24 April 1945.
[xxii] Taylor to Wittfogel: 13 May 1957.
[xxiii] Taylor to Cartwright: 29 March 1968.
[xxiv] Cartwright to Chairs: 5 September 1968.
[xxv] George Beckmann (1927-98) was educated at Harvard and Stanford. He taught for sixteen years at the University of Kansas, where he published important works on Japanese history, such as The Making of the Meiji Constitution and The Modernization of China and Japan. He became the University’s Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and University Provost, a position he stepped down from in 1988 (see S. Renee Mitchell, “UW’s Tower of Strength,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 21 August 1988).
[xxvi] Hellmann to Executive Committee of the Institute: 29 November 1971.
[xxvii] Taylor, Department of Education Continuing Grant for Far Eastern and Russian Language and Area Center, 1965-66, “General Statement,” p. 1.
[xxviii] Jackson to Pyle: autumn 1978, from The Jackson Report, 75th Anniversary Issue, p. 2.
[xxix] Ibid., p. 4.
[xxx] Kenneth B. Pyle, “Chester Fritz: A Biographical Note,” in Chester Fritz, China Journey: A Diary of Six Months In Western Inland China, 1917 (Seattle: School of International Studies, University of Washington, 1981), p. xxix.
[xxxi] Pyle, “Message from the Director,” Jackson School Catalogue, 26 June 1985.
[xxxii] A Hellenic/Greek Studies Committee was formed with support from the local community. A Comparative Islamic Studies Committee was approved. Interest in European Studies also increased significantly and a European Union-sponsored centered has been affiliated with the School in 1998.
[xxxiii] Gowen to UW President Henry Suzzallo: March 1914.