Annping Chin

Senior Lecturer in History

Annping Chin, B.S. Michigan State University, Ph.D. Columbia University, faculty member at Yale since 1995: Through your dedicated scholarship and teaching on classical Chinese thought and biography, you have been a true Yale institution for over twenty years. You have excelled in all aspects of academic life and inspired everyone who knows you. You have written with rigor and grace for general audiences as well as academics, on subjects as disparate as ancient Chinese thought, the biography of Confucius, and the lives of twentieth-century Chinese. You are especially adept at evoking the human experience lying behind the ideologies of imperial and modern China, through sensitive biographies expressed with great literary flair. Four Sisters of Hofei, published in 2002, traced the lives of four women who were pioneers in pursuing higher education in twentieth-century China, showing vividly their personal relations and their contributions to modern life. The Authentic Confucius tracked with scholarly rigor the real story of the philosopher whose words are fundamental to all Chinese intellectual thought, but whose life is wrapped in legend and hagiography. Your new translation of the Confucian Analects gave us a verified, clear, and readable version of this classic text.

You have participated actively in the newest investigations of ancient Chinese thought, based on bamboo slips discovered in tombs, debating these exciting subjects at international conferences with leading scholars in China. We look forward with great anticipation to your next project, on the reception of the Analects in China and the West. You will always be actively exploring new directions and making original contributions to our knowledge of Chinese thought.

You have taught a remarkable range of courses, both to undergraduates and graduate students, ranging from the classical tradition in China to biographies of modern Chinese people. As the only teacher in the History Department teaching the classical period, your courses have been demanding but inspiring. As one student wrote, “She loves her work, and she will make it impossible for you not to love it too.” You also have supervised many senior essays, going well beyond the call of duty to help Yale students complete serious work based on primary sources. Graduate students in all fields of Chinese history have benefited greatly from your emphasis on paying close attention to classical sources and their commentaries.

On the personal level, you have made Yale a warm and welcoming place for new faculty and new students, with your enthusiasm for scholarship of all kinds, your excitement over new and classic films, and last but not least, the superb dinners at your home, where you and Jonathan Spence have hosted visitors of all ages and countries over the past two decades. A wonderful gardener, whose home garden is an oasis of grace and beauty, Yale celebrates you as a valued colleague, talented scholar, and admirable person for making so much bloom here and hopes you will continue adding to the scholarship you have helped blossom in future years.

Tribute Editor: Penelope Laurans