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Full Access Managing Student Protest in Republican China: Yenching and St. John’s Compared

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Managing Student Protest in Republican China: Yenching and St. John’s Compared

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Although similar in many respects, the two major Christian universities in Republican China adopted markedly different approaches to the common challenge of student nationalism. Case studies of the May Thirtieth Movement at St. John’s University and the December Ninth Movement at Yenching University illustrate the consequences of these sharply contrasting experiences. Whereas St. John’s was crippled by May Thirtieth, Yenching escaped December Ninth relatively unscathed. The explanation for the contrast, this paper suggests, lies not in any fundamental disagreement in the mission of the two universities or the philosophies of their famous and forceful presidents. It must be sought instead in the different campus cultures in which the student protests originated, and in the urban micro-environments in which the two universities were located: treaty-port Shanghai and post-imperial Peking.


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