A Southern Methodist mission to China: Soochow University, 1901-1939.

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Xu, Xiaoguang
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Middle Tennessee State University
The American missionary enterprise in China has received the attention of historians in the past three decades. However, the greatest emphasis has been on evangelical rather than educational work. The intellectual impact of Protestant missions on Chinese society through educational work has been neglected. It needs to be further explored, with case studies on mission colleges of China, and with an examination of both missionary educators' response toward Chinese culture and Chinese intellectuals' response toward Christian education.
This dissertation will examine a Southern Methodist Mission in Soochow University, a well-known Christian college in modern China. It covers the first four decades of the twentieth century, from 1901, when Soochow University was founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to 1939, when the unification of the Methodist churches in the United States ended the Southern Methodist Mission in China. This study will demonstrate and analyze the role of missionary educators of Southern Methodist Church in introducing Western civilization and Christian ideas to China's official-scholar class and the younger generation, and in promoting China's modern education and social transformation. Also, the attitude of missionary educators toward Chinese culture and Chinese social reform will be addressed. In addition, there will be an examination of the Chinese response, faculty as well as student, to Christian education. Furthermore, in describing the Southern Methodist educational mission in China, this study will attempt to discuss the intellectual contributions of the leading Methodist missionary educators to Christian education in China.
Most of the materials in the United States concerning the Southern Methodist Mission in China came from the libraries and archives in the South, although some came from the Northeast. Some materials in Chinese, however, were collected in the People's Republic of China.