Late Imperial China evolved from the publication Ch’ing-shih wen-t’i, which was produced by the Society of Qing Studies, founded in 1965 by influential China scholar Mary Clabaugh Wright. Working in collaboration with other noted historians such as John Fairbank, Wright established the Society at the Association for Asian Studies meeting in San Francisco in April 1965. A month later, the first issue of Ch’ing-shih wen-t’i was released. The informal mimeographed bulletin was published irregularly as a way to link scholars interested in Qing studies.
Readership increased over the next few years, allowing the publication to progress to a printed booklet, and eventually to become a refereed research journal. Founding editor Jonathan Spence shepherded Ch’ing-shih wen-t’i through its early years before turning the journal over to Ramon Myers in 1974. In 1979, James Cole, Susan Naquin, and Mary Rankin took office as editors until 1984 when Charlotte Furth and James Lee assumed the editorial reins and changed the journal’s name.
William T. Rowe replaced Charlotte Furth as co-editor with James Lee in 1993 and at that time Johns Hopkins University Press began publishing the journal. Rowe became sole editor when Lee retired in 1999 from the journal. Tobie Meyer-Fong and Janet Theiss began their term as co-editors in 2007. It is our hope that the new website will serve some of the purposes of the original mimeographed bulletin—as a forum for conversations about research and teaching, and a place to exchange ideas and forge connections among scholars.