UW Today

February 2, 2011

Lecturer traces Chinese history through one family

News and Information

Ancestral Leaves: A Family Journey Through Chinese History is the title of a lecture by Joseph Esherick, professor of modern Chinese history at UCLA, to be given at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, in the Walker-Ames Room, Kane.

Ancestral Leaves follows one family through 600 years of Chinese history and brings to life the epic narrative of the nation, from the 14th century through the Cultural Revolution. The lives of the Ye family —”Ye” means “leaf” in Chinese — reveal the human side of the large-scale events that shaped modern China: the vast and destructive rebellions of the 19th century, the economic growth and social transformation of the republican era, the Japanese invasion during World War II, and the Cultural Revolution under the Chinese Communists.

Esherick draws from rare manuscripts and archival and oral history sources to provide an uncommonly personal and intimate glimpse into Chinese family history, illuminating the changing patterns of everyday life during rebellion, war, and revolution. He is the author of The Origins of the Boxer Uprising and co-editor of The Chinese Cultural Revolution as History, among many books.

The lecture is presented by the China Studies Program and the East Asia Center at the UW.