Asia Program

Asia Program Mourns the Passing of a Giant

Nov 06, 2011

It is with great sadness that the Wilson Center’s Asia Program observes the passing of Dr. Robert A. Scalapino, the noted American scholar of Asian politics. The author of 39 books and over 500 journal articles, Scalapino founded the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of California-Berkeley in 1978. He also edited the journal Asian Survey for more than three decades, and advised three sitting presidents on East Asian affairs. As Wilson Center Asia Program Director Robert M. Hathaway notes, “Bob Scalapino was a giant in the field of Asian studies.  There is, quite literally, no one working in this area today who is not indebted to Bob’s path breaking work in pushing the study of East Asia, building institutions devoted to informing Americans about this increasingly important region, and nurturing two, perhaps three, generations of scholars.”


Scalapino had a special connection to Woodrow Wilson and the Wilson Center. In 1974 he won the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award for the best book on government, politics, or international affairs, awarded by the American Political Science Association. In October 2010, the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), the Wilson Center, and The Asia Foundation sponsored the Robert Scalapino Symposium, hosted by the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of California-Berkeley. Also in 2010, NBR and the Wilson Center created the Scalapino Prize in honor of Dr. Scalapino’s ground-breaking work in the field of Asian studies. The prize is awarded to a U.S. scholar who has followed the Scalapino example by making an exceptional contribution to the understanding of Asia; the inaugural Scalapino Prize was awarded to David M. Lampton. It is a fitting memorial to a magnificent scholar who will be sorely missed.

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