John E. Wills, Jr., “Jack” to all his friends and colleagues, was born in 1936 in Urbana Illinois. After a B.A. from the University of Illinois and service in the U.S. Army he earned an M.A. and Ph.D. at Harvard University under the supervision of John K. Fairbank and Yang Lien-sheng. He has been married to Carolin Connell “Connie” Wills since 1958; they have five grown children, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
From 1965 to 2004 Wills taught Chinese history and the history of the early modern world at the University of Southern California. His research on maritime China and its connections with the early modern maritime world has led him to archive and library research in China, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Netherlands, England, Spain, and Portugal. He is the author of over fifty articles, including two chapters in the Cambridge History of China, of several research monographs and edited volumes, and of two works for the general reader, Mountain of Fame: Portraits in Chinese History (1994) and 1688: A Global History (2001).
Wills passed away at 80 in 2017.
Please join the U.S.-China Institute and PEN America for the West Coast launch of the PEN America report on social media in China, Forbidden Feeds. We will discuss the report and Chinese social media more generally.