General History

In 1976, the late David Titus, Professor of Government and East Asian Studies, researched and wrote an account of the earliest interactions between Wesleyan and East Asia — which begins very early indeed, some five years after the University's founding in 1831.

In addition, Professor Titus compiled lists of early courses and lectures on East Asian topics.

Here is a chronology of events related to East Asian Studies at Wesleyan.

Much of the early contact between Wesleyan and East Asia was mediated by missionaries. Since 2002, Wesleyan has been one of eleven colleges and universities participating in the American Context of China's Christian Colleges project, which has been directed by Professor Ellen Widmer of Wesleyan's Asian Languages and Literatures Department. The project's website contains a great deal of Wesleyan-specific information, including many full-text articles from the Wesleyan Argus student newspaper from 1900-1950.

The Freeman Legacy

The development of East Asian Studies at Wesleyan since the mid-1970s has been possible thanks to the visionary support of Mansfield Freeman ('16), his son Houghton Freeman ('43), and the Freeman Foundation.

Collected here are selections from a feature article on the Freemans from a past Wesleyan Alumni Magazine.

In addition, please see the information on the Mansfield Freeman Lecture Series, inaugurated in 1976.