On the three waves of China's communication studies: A commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Schramm's visit to China & China's communication studies in post-Schramm times

Fei Jiang


Some scholars call the visit to China by Wilbur Schramm (1907–1987), the “forefather” of American communication studies, an “ice-breaking trip” for China's communication studies and some call it a “combustion improver”. This paper maintains that China's communication studies have experienced three main waves: the fist was “turbulent but hidden” because communication studies had reached China through different channels before Schramm's visit; the second began with Schramm's visit to China in 1982, which contributed to breaking the “ice” of the “hidden wave” (the so-called “ice-breaking trip”) since after this visit more foreign scholars visited China with their works and papers, creating a “rolling wave” in China's communication circle; and now the third wave is lapping at the shore insofar as many overseas Chinese communication scholars including some from Taiwan and Hong Kong have come to the mainland and are beginning to conduct China's communication studies from multiple perspectives. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Schramm's visit, we need to gain a better understanding of the problems and the direction of China's communication studies. This paper attempts to do just this and also provides a historical overview of relevant literature. The author is more than willing to answer any questions colleagues may wish to ask.



Chinese communication studies; Wilbur Schramm; Communication history; Human development


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Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896