John K. Fairbank (1907-1991) was a highly influential scholar of Chinese history. He is largely credited with founding the field of Chinese Studies in the United States. After graduating from Harvard University, Fairbank traveled to Beijing in 1932 as a Rhodes Scholar to do research on the newly opened Qing Imperial archives. In 1936, he returned from Beijing to Harvard where he was appointed as a History instructor. At Harvard, he started to set up a Chinese studies department. During the Second World War, Fairbank worked as an OSS officer in the Guomingdang capital of Chongqing. After the war, he returned to Harvard as a professor of History. In 1955, he founded Harvard's East Asian Research Center, renamed the Fairbank Center after his retirement in 1977. Fairbank continued to write and participate in scholarly activities up until his death.

Last Updated: May 29, 2014

How to Deal with the Chinese Revolution

John K. Fairbank from New York Review of Books
The Vietnam debate reflects our intellectual unpreparedness. Crisis has arisen on the farthest frontier of public knowledge, and viewpoints diverge widely because we all lack background information. “Vietnam” was not even a label on our horizon...