James Geiss

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James Peter Geiss (14 March 1950 - 19 December 2000) was an American scholar who published several books and articles on Chinese history, specifically on the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE).

A graduate of Williams College and Princeton University, he completed his doctoral dissertation, Peking under the Ming (1368-1644) in 1979.

He published two chapters in the Cambridge history of China, Vol. 7: The Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644 Part I, “The Cheng-Te Reign” and “The Chia-Ching Reign” (1988), which were complemented by the more specialized studies “On the significance of the reign title Chia-ching” (1990) and “The Leopard Quarter during the Cheng-te reign” (1987), both in Ming Studies. He published in the Chinese language “Ming Wuzong yu Baofang” (“Wuzong and the Leopard Quarter”, 1988) in the Gugong Bowuyuan Yuankan 故宫博物院院刊, an article taken very seriously by Chinese scholars. He collaborated with Chu Hung-lam to translate original Chinese texts for Louise Levathes' popular book, When China Ruled the Seas (1994) .

With Naiying Yuan and Haitao Tang, he co-authored several textbooks on classical Chinese, notably The Grammar of Classical Chinese: A Basic Introduction, Classical Chinese: A Basic Reader (1994), Readings in Classical Chinese Poetry and Prose (1994), Selections from Classical Chinese Historical Texts (1993), and Selections from Classical Chinese Philosophical Texts (1993). After his death in 2004 Princeton University Press published new versions of all volumes as Classical Chinese: A Basic Reader, revised and updated by N.Y. Yuan and H.T. Tang.

The James P. Geiss Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to support research in Ming studies, was established in his honor in 2001.

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