Harvard Creates New China Chair
New Post Will Add to Gov Dept.
In an effort to bolster its coverage of Asian politics, the Government Department announced this week that it was beginning a search for candidates for a new endowed professorship to study China and its relationship with foreign countries.
The new chair, endowed by a benefactor of the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, will fill a critical gap in the department's overall study of Chinese political science, said Professor of Government Roderick MacFarquhar, a China expert and the head of the search committee.
"We have [Associate Professor of Government Jean C.] Oi to cover the field of grass roots, local politics in China. I deal with the elite level politics, and now the new chair will focus on China's relations with the world," MacFarquhar said.
Strengthening the Department
"The new chair will strengthen the department," said Professor of Chinese History and Philosophy Wei-Ming Tu, explaining that "countries of the Pacific rim are gaining greater importance in world affairs."
A new professorship will also increase the number of undergraduate courses being taught in modern Chinese Studies, MacFarquhar said. He said that he favors adding a provision to the chair's description that would require its occupant to teach "at least a bare minimum of courses."
The chair--titled the Governor James Albert Noe Sr. and Linda and Christel Noe Laine professorship of China in world affairs--is to be funded by a grant from Linda Noe Laine, a member of the Fairbank Center Committee, a fundraising group affiliated with the center. The chair is named for Laine and her father and daughter.
Although MacFarquhar declined to comment on the exact size of the endowment, he said that the minimum amount required to set up a new senior faculty position at Harvard is $1.5 million. That figure was raised to $2 million in July, but the increase did not affect the new chair because negotiations began in the spring of 1988, MacFarquhar said.
MacFarquhar said that Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence authorized him to negotiate with Laine about a junior chair in Chinese studies during the Fairbank Center's 1988 fundraising drive.
"After a number of meetings and consultations, [Laine] agreed to increase her offer to a full chair dealing with China," he said.
Laine could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Government Department Chair Robert O. Keohane said that candidates for the chair will be judged primarily on the basis of their expertise in political science overall, rather than specialized work in a particular area of Chinese Studies.
"In the end, for a senior appointment, the most important thing to consider is the general quality of the candidate," Keohane said. "Specific areas of interest are secondary."
"We're looking for not merely a good specialist on China, but a first-class political scientist," MacFarquhar said.
Both MacFarquhar and Keohane said they hoped to fill the new position by the 1991-92 academic year.