On November 14, 2021, John Barwick, Ph.D. presented “Chinese Christians and the Path to Liberal Modernity in China, 1900-1949”. China's encounter with the modern world in the first half of the twentieth century occurred at the same time that the small community of Christians was beginning to increase rapidly in numbers and influence. Christianity was in fact an integral part of this process, and particularly in advancing a liberal vision of modernity.
By examining the lives of Chinese Christians, Dr. Barwick explored the following revelatory themes:
· Why was Christianity so closely connected with liberal modernity in Republican China?
· Why did Chinese Christians have such a large impact on China's early modernization?
· Why did the Christian vision of liberal modernity in China fail and Communism succeed?
· What lessons does Chinese Christian social engagement in this period hold for us today?
About Dr. john barwick
Dr. Barwick, a lecturer in the Department of History at Cornell University, has a Ph.D. in modern Chinese history from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has done work on the role of Protestant elites in China’s modernization during the first part of the 20th century. His research centers on the fascinating enigma that is modern China. He is drawn especially to the question of Chinese engagement with the modern world during the 19th and 20th centuries and the construction of Chinese modernity that emerged from it. A sub-theme of his work considers the role of religion in modern societies, and in particular the role of Christianity in mediating notions of modernity around the world over the past two centuries. His presentation will help us more fully understand Christianity's contribution to China’s development during the 1930's.
After the lecture program on the stage ended, participants were given the opportunity to explore ideas, meet new people, and build community in small groups.