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My Town: Hope College Conference to feature students' research on China missionaries | Arts & Culture

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My Town: Hope College Conference to feature students' research on China missionaries
My Town: Hope College Conference to feature students' research on China missionaries

HOLLAND – Original research by Hope College history students will be featured in the conference “Cross-Cultural Encounters: China and the Reformed Church in America” on Friday, March 28, starting at 2 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The afternoon conference will feature presentations by four students who conducted independent research focused on RCA missionaries to Amoy (now Xiamen) on the southeast coast of mainland China during the latter-19th and early 20th centuries.  The event will conclude with a keynote address by Dr. Ryan Dunch of the University of Alberta in Canada.

The participating students are senior Eric Dawson of Grand Haven; junior Rebekah Llorens of Grayslake, Ill.; senior Jillian Nichols of Brighton; and junior Madalyn Northuis of Holland.  Working during the summer of 2013, they were mentored by Dr. Marc Baer, professor of history and chairperson of the department; Dr. Jonathan Hagood, assistant professor of history; and Dr. Gloria Tseng, associate professor of history.

The afternoon will open with the five-minute video “Working Together: Hope College History Majors Exploring Late 19th- and Early 20th-Century Missionaries to China.”  The video describes how the three history majors among the presenters not only learned the historian’s craft through research but considered how faith and scholarship, and academic and social engagement come together in a community of scholars.

At 2:15 p.m., Dawson, who is a history major and English minor, will present “Cultural Exchange:  The Story of William Angus and His Poetry.”  Angus served as a missionary in Amoy from 1925 to 1952.

At 3 p.m., Northuis, who is a history and classics major and women’s studies minor, will present “All to Thee, My Precious Savior:  Tena Holkeboer and China, 1920-48.”  Holkeboer, who was a 1920 Hope graduate, served as an educational missionary at Amoy.

At 4 p.m., Llorens, a history major and music minor, will present “Dr. John A. Otte:  A Study in Christian Cross-Cultural Mission Methods in China.”  Otte, who was a 1883 Hope graduate and physician, served in China from 1888 until his death in 1910, and designed and built the Neerbosch Hospital in Changchow (Zhanzhou) and the Hope and Wilhelmina hospitals in Amoy.

Also during the 4 p.m. session, Nichols, a nursing major, will present “Jean Nienhuis and Her Mission to Amoy, China, 1920-1952.”  A 1902 graduate of the college’s Preparatory School, Nienhuis founded and headed a nurses’ training school at the Hope and Wilhelmina hospitals in Amoy.

 At 5 p.m., Dunch will present an overview of the work of Protestant missionaries in Fujian, the province in which Xiamen is located.  Dunch is chair of the East Asian Studies department at the University of Alberta, and his publications include the book “Fuzhou Protestants and the Making of a Modern China, 1857-1927.”

The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave.,  at 11th Street.