The Annual Stanley Spector Memorial Lecture on East Asian History and Civilization was founded in 1994 to honor Dr. Stanley Spector (1925-1999) for his tremendous contributions to the creation and development of Asian Studies at Washington University. Born in New York City in 1924, Spector received a bachelor's degree in education in 1946 from the City College of New York. He served briefly in the U.S. Naval Reserves during World War II and subsequently earned a doctorate in East Asian history in 1954 from the University of Washington in Seattle, with additional study at the London School of Oriental and African Studies in 1950-51. Spector came to the University in 1955 and served as chair of the Department of Chinese and Japanese (now East Asian Languages and Cultures) from its inception in 1963 until 1973. He also served as chair of the Committee on Asian Studies (now the East Asian Studies program) and as director of International Studies from 1971 to 1989. He was granted emeritus status in 1989.
Past Spector Lecturers have included:
27th annual lecture, March 30, 2023
"Inglorious, Illegal Bastards: Japan’s Self-Defense Force During the Cold War"
Aaron Skabelund, Brigham Young University
26th annual lecture, April 19, 2019
"A Genealogy of Dissent: The Progeny of Fallen Royals in Chosŏn Korea"
Eugene Park, University of Pennsylvania
25th annual lecture, April 6, 2018
"Books and Biographies: Localizing China's Intellectual History"
Peter Bol, Harvard University
24th annual lecture, April 7, 2017
Akiko Takenaka, University of Kentucky
"Yasukuni Shrine and Total War: Memories and Counter-Memories of the Asia-Pacific War"
23rd annual lecture, April 15, 2016
"Postmodern Pyongyang: North Korea's Transformations through its Changing Built Environment"
Charles K. Armstrong, Columbia University
22nd annual lecture, April 10, 2015
"The World in the Year 1000: The View from Beijing"
Valerie Hansen, Yale University
21st annual lecture, April 11, 2014
"Historicizing the Northern Region of Korea"
Sun Joo Kim, Harvard University
20th annual lecture, April 12, 2013
"Blood is a Many-Splendored Thing: Eugenics, Nationality, and Citizenship in Japan"
Jennifer Robertson, University of Michigan
19th annual lecture, April 13, 2012
"Print, Law, and Steles: Public Culture in Qing China"
Kai-wing Chow, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
18th annual lecture, April 8, 2011
"Korean Buddhist Journeys to Lands Worldly and Otherworldly"
Robert Buswell, University of California, Los Angeles
17th annual lecture, April 9, 2010
"Is City Life a Good Life? Views from Edo (Now Tokyo) in the 1600s"
Mary Elizabeth Berry, University of California, Berkeley
16th annual lecture, March 20, 2009
"No Antiques Roadshow! Exploring the Material Culture of Late Imperial China"
Susan Naquin, Princeton University
15th annual lecture, April 18, 2008
“Envisioning The Tale of Genji: Canonization, Popularization, and Visual Culture”
Haruo Shirane, Columbia University
14th annual lecture, May 2, 2007
"Imagination Without Borders: Feminist Artist Tomiyama Taeko and Social Responsibility"
Laura Hein, Northwestern University
13th annual lecture, April 14, 2006
"Why Weren't Women a Problem in 19th Century Chinese Thought?"
Dr. Susan Mann, University of California, Davis
12th annual lecture, March 18, 2005
"Visions of a Vendetta: Chuushingura in Ukiyo-e Prints"
Dr. Henry D. Smith II, Columbia University
11th annual lecture, March 19, 2004
"Non-elite Identities in the Late Choson: Questions of Ethnicity, Status and Conflict"
Dr. John Duncan, University of California, Los Angeles
10th annual lecture, March 14, 2003
"The Genealogy of Globalization in China"
Dr. Prasenjit Duara, The University of Chicago
9th annual lecture, April 12, 2002
"Emperor Meiji and Foreign Visitors"
Dr. Donald Keene, Columbia University
8th annual lecture, April 6, 2001
"Democracy from the Bottom Up: The Virtues of Political Conflict in Korea and East Asia"
Dr. Bruce Cumings, The University of Chicago
7th annual lecture, April 14, 2000
"The Problem of 'Women' in Twentieth Century Chinese Thought"
Dr. Tani Barlow, University of Washington
6th annual lecture, April 9, 1999
"Past Obsessions: War and Memory in the Twentieth Century"
Dr. Carol Gluck, Columbia University
5th annual lecture, April 17, 1998
"The Cultural Foundation of Asian Nationalism"
Dr. Lucien W. Pye, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4th annual lecture, April 9, 1997
"The Arts of Empire in 18th Century China"
Dr. Jonathan Spence, Yale University
3rd annual lecture, April 26, 1996
"Sou-shen Chi: Pursuing the Supernatural"
Dr. James Crump, University of Michigan
2nd annual lecture, April 14, 1995
"Shifting Allegiances: Modern Japanese-style Painting 1868-1968"
Dr. J. Thomas Rimer, University of Pittsburgh
Inaugural lecture, April 15, 1994
"China, Incorporated? Business, Law, and Politics in 20th Century China"
Dr. William Kirby, Harvard University