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China Project: Juniata Historian Receives Fulbright Fellowship

(Posted April 15, 2008)

Douglas Stiffler, assistant professor of history

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Douglas Stiffler, assistant professor of history at Juniata College, has been named a Fulbright Research Fellow for the 2008-2009 academic year. He will research the relationship between Communist China and the Soviet Union from 1949 to 1960 as a scholar-in-residence at Capital Normal University in Beijing, China.

Stiffler, a Huntingdon resident and one of nine scholars to receive a fellowship in China next year, will be examining how China used Soviet financial aid during the 1950s in the fields of education, industry, agriculture, government organization, party organization and the arts.

Stiffler, who is working on a book, "Socialist Modernity Under Soviet Tutelage," will try to determine whether Soviet financial aid and socialist "examples" helped transform China's state and society into Western-style modernity.

"My ultimate goal is to look beyond the 1950s to the period when China opened itself to the West," Stiffler explains. "The question is did learning from the Soviet Union benefit China in any ways when they were opened to the West or did it hold them back?"

In addition to his research fellowship, Stiffler, his wife, Jing Xia (Judy) Yang, and Song Gao, assistant professor of economics at Juniata, will also travel to China to meet with representatives from Dalian Finance and Economic University in Dalian, China. Stiffler and Yang will remain in China for the entire academic year.

"The question is, did learning from the Soviet Union benefit China in any ways when they were opened to the West or did it hold them back?"
Douglas Stiffler, assistant professor of history

Stiffler joined the Juniata faculty in 2002 as an assistant professor of history. He earned a bachelor's degree in East Asian studies from Harvard College in 1990. He went on to earn a master's degree in East Asian history in 1993 and a doctorate in East Asian history in 2002, both from the University of California-San Diego.

In 2001, Stiffler was a visiting scholar at Whittier College in Los Angeles, Calif. He completed his course requirements for his doctorate at the University of California-Berkeley. His research has been presented at conferences in Moscow, Russia, Harvard University and at UC-Berkeley. He speaks and reads Chinese and Russian and can read Japanese as well. He has made research trips to Moscow and China. He received the UC-San Diego Chinese History Fellowship in the academic years 1992-1993 and 1996-1997.



Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.