Wenxian Zhang, interim library director and head of archives, has recently published a new book entitled China Through American Eyes with World Scientific Publishing.
Zhang addresses early depictions of the Chinese people and culture in the U.S. print media, emphasizing that cultural understanding between the U.S. and China has been a long and complex process.
Besides images from newspapers and journals, this collection also contains pictures about China and the Chinese published in books, brochures, commercial advertisements, campaign posters, postcards, etc. Together, they have documented colorful portrayals of the Chinese and their culture by the U.S. print media and their evolution from ethnic curiosity, stereotyping, and racial prejudice to social awareness, reluctant understanding, and eventual acceptance.
Through this book, contemporary readers develop a more comprehensive understanding of major events in modern American and Chinese histories, such as the cause and effect of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the power struggles behind the development of the Open Door Policy at the turn of the 20th century. This collection of images has essentially formed a rich visual resource that is both diverse and intriguing. As primary source documents, they carry significant historical and cultural values that could stimulate further academic research.