Chinese Business Historian Chan Honored at Oct. 30 Conference

A conference exploring the meaning of being Chinese in a globalized world will be held Oct. 30 at the Huntington Library in honor of Wellington Chan, the internationally known economic historian who recently retired from Occidental College after a distinguished 39-year career.


R. Bin Wong, director of the UCLA Asia Institute, will deliver the conference's keynote speech, "Global and Historical Perspectives on China's Economic Rise," followed by a panel discussion on immigration and political, business, and cultural issues, featuring scholars from Michigan State, UC Irvine, and Cal Poly Pomona.

"For almost four decades, Wellington has played a key role in sustaining and expanding Occidental's century-old tradition of the study and teaching of Asian culture and history," said Lisa Sousa, associate professor of history and conference co-organizer. "As a scholar of international reputation, a teacher who has won Occidental's highest awards, and as a faculty leader, Wellington has been an inspiration."

Chan, National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor of the Humanities emeritus at Occidental, retired this spring. A native of Hong Kong, he studied history at Yale before earning his Ph.D. in East Asian History from Harvard. His book, Merchants, Mandarins and Modern Enterprise in Late Ch'ing China, published by Harvard University Press, was translated into Chinese by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He also was tapped as a contributor to the Cambridge University Press' History of China series.

A Fulbright Scholar at Lingnan University in Hong Kong in 2004, Chan frequently presented papers on Chinese entrepreneurship and business history in Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei, as well as in Europe. He is a founding member of the Chinese Business History Research Group, an organization launched in the United States in 1990.

Occidental is currently raising funds to endow a permanent chair in Chinese studies, which it hopes to name after Chan.