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Stanford Oral History Collections

Lewis, John W.
Lewis, John W.
Lewis, John W. and Hanawalt, Carla
Corporate Author:
Stanford Historical Society
John W. Lewis, the William Haas Professor of Chinese Politics, Emeritus, established some of the first study programs in contemporary Asian politics in the United States. He founded or co-founded centers at Cornell University and Stanford University, helped to draft foreign policy for the federal government, and built cooperative relationships with leaders and scholars in China, Korea, Russia, and Vietnam. Although now retired, he continues to be active, writing books and giving lectures. In this oral history interview, Lewis talks about his experiences working in a field that challenged deeply ingrained cultural and political beliefs. He describes what it was like to come to Stanford as an expert on the highly sensitive subject of China at the height of public unrest regarding the Vietnam War, and how that affected his relationships with both students and teachers. He recounts his recruitment to Stanford by J.E. Wallace Sterling, establishing the Center for East Asian Studies, the visit of the Chinese ping-pong team to Stanford in 1972, the climate of protest against the Vietnam War at Stanford, and the beginnings of the Center for International Strategic Arms Control (CISAC). Lewis also discusses his experiences as an educator, including his involvement in an interdisciplinary course on nuclear arms and disarmament and conducting simulations of arms control talks with students. He describes some of his foreign policy work for the U.S. State Department and the Department of Defense. He reviews the impact his work has had on relations between the United States and East Asia, the current state of the field, and his ongoing work as an author, lecturer, and researcher.
John W. Lewis, Stanford Historical Society, oral histories, interviews, Stanford University, higher education, professors, China--politics and government, China--study and teaching, Chinese studies, Ford Foundation, Henry Kissinger, David Mozingo, North Korea--politics and government, Wolfgang Panofsky, Stanford University--Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University--Center for East Asian Studies, Vietnam War, Vietnam War--protest movements--United States, nuclear arms control, G. William Skinner, United States--foreign relations--China, United States--foreign relations--North Korea, Litai Xue, and Yinhe incident
May 12, 2015
Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program interviews, 1999-2012