Thomas L. Kennedy 1930- 2015

For formal Association of Asian Studies Piece see the pdf below


Asian Studies E-Newsletter

Fall 2015 Issue
Member News
Thomas “Tom” Larew Kennedy, Professor Emeritus of History at Washington State University,a life-long scholar, mentor, and advocate of Asian studies died on June 5, 2015 in Pullman,Washington from complications of cancer. He was 85.

Tom was born May 9, 1930, in Newark, New Jersey to Maida Larew Kennedy and Thomas A.Kennedy. In 1957 He married Mathilde E. “Micki” McGeary in Jenkintown, PA. The couple had three children.

Prior to becoming a historian, Kennedy spent ten years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.It would be his Marine Corps service that would initially take him to East Asia. Originally trained as a Chinese language specialist, he worked with the National Security Agency and served in Okinawa in the early 1960s. Having initially earned degrees at Villanova and Georgetown, Kennedy eventually enrolled at Columbia as a Ph.D. student working under the direction of the late C. Martin Wilbur. After completing his PhD at Columbia University in 1968, he accepted a position in the history department at Washington State University and moved with his family to Pullman,Washington in 1970.

A prolific scholar and translator, Tom Kennedy spent a considerable part of his professional life working in the field of early
Chinese industrialization, an effort which resulted in his first book
The Arms of Kiangnan: Modernization in the Chinese Ordnance Industry
, (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1978). He also produced a significant number of articles including “Chang Chih-tung and the Struggle for Strategic Industrialization: The Establishment of the Hanyang Arsenal, 1884-1895,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies
(1973), “The Kiangnan Arsenal 1895-1911: The Decentralized Bureaucracy Responds to Imperialism,” Ch’ing-shih wen-t’i
(1969) “Industrial Metamorphosis in the Self Strengthening Movement: Li Hung Chang and the Kiangnan Shipbuilding Program, Journal of the Institute for Chinese Studies , of the Chinese University of Hong Kong,“Self Strengthening: An Analysis Based on Some Recent Writings,
Ch’ing Shih Wen’tiand “China’s Nineteenth Century Military Industrialization: Achievements and Consequences” Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taipei (1998).

But Kennedy’s scholarship went far beyond issues associated with military modernization, working with his wife Micki Kennedy, he produced sophisticated and annotated translations of the memoirs of prominent late nineteenth and early 20th century Chinese women, ranging from of Testimony of a Confucian Woman: The Autobiography of Mrs. Nie Zeng Jifen, 1852-1942 (Athens, University of Georgia Press, 1993) to Confucian Feminist: Memoirs of Zeng Baosun (1893-1978). (American Philosophical Society, 2002)Working with his longtime friend Samuel C. Chu of Ohio State University he co-edited Madame Chiang Kai-shek and Her China (Signature Books 2005)

A superb teacher and graduate studies adviser, Kennedy mentored many graduate students over the years, among them Steven A. Leibo, of the Sage Colleges whose works on Prosper Giquel’s role in Chinese Self-Strengthening flowed directly out of the research paths Kennedy had pioneered and Robert R. Swartout, author of many works on East Asia including, Mandarins, Gunboats, and Power Politics: Owen Nickerson Denny and the International Rivalries in Korea
By the time he retired as a full professor in 2001, Kennedy had served as Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and
Vice Provost for Instruction as well as in other administrative roles in the graduate school. He was also instrumental in developing Washington State University’s Asian Program, study programs in China and was one of the co-founders of the World Civilizations component of the General Education Program. Dr. Kennedy has been a member of the AAS since 1962.

Written by Dr. Steven A. Leibo, The Sage Colleges