Queen's Birthday Honors List Distinguishes Yale Professor Jonathan Spence

Jonathan Spence, the Sterling Professor of History at Yale University and a renowned authority on modern Chinese history, is to be made a Companion of the Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (CMG), an honor given by the Queen of England for outstanding achievement.

Recognized as one of the foremost scholars of Chinese civilization from the sixteenth century to the present, Spence has written extensively on the role of history in shaping modern China. “The Search for Modern China” (1990); “The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci” (1984); “The Gate of Heavenly Peace: The Chinese and Their Revolution 1895-1980” (1982); “The Chan’s Great Continent: China in Western Minds” (1998); and “Chinese Century: A Photographic History of the Last Hundred Years” (1996), written with his wife, Annping Chin, are among the many titles to his credit. His most recent books are the 1999 biography of Mao Zedong and this year’s “Treason by the Book,” exploring a little known but significant episode of 18th century history.

A native of England, Spence received his bachelor’s degree in history from Cambridge University and both his master’s and PhD. degrees from Yale. He began teaching at Yale in 1965 and was named the Sterling Professor of History in 1993.

Spence was a 1988 MacArthur Fellow, and was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1985. He won the 1983 Vursel Prize of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He has received five honorary degrees.

The award was among those announced as part of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Birthday Honors List on Saturday, June 16, in London. The CMG is the third rank of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George, created by the Prince Regent (later George IV) in 1818. It is an honor conferred principally on British diplomats and others who have performed important duties abroad. Spence, who was one of 16 to be awarded the CMG on the Queen’s List this year, will receive his honor at Buckingham Palace at a formal investiture ceremony later this year.

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Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345