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Theresa Kelleher `71


t. kelleherTerry Kelleher, Ph.D.
Class of 1971

Professor, Manhattanville College

After graduating from Manhattanville, I spent two years in Hawaii at the East West Center while working on my Masters in Chinese literature at the University of Hawaii, with the summers spent studying Chinese at a language center in Taiwan. I then went on to Columbia University for my Ph.D. in the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department. I specialized in Chinese Neo-Confucianism and received my Ph.D. in 1982. After teaching part-time at Manhattanville for the 1982-83 year, I joined the faculty full time in 1984, and have taught here ever since. I offer a broad range of courses on Asia in several disciplines, from the histories of China and Japan to surveys of the religions of China, Japan, and India. Some of my seminars have dealt with Women in Chinese and Japanese Religions, as well as Cultural and Religious Imperialism: American Missionaries in China. My affiliation is with both the Asian Studies and World Religions Departments. I have served as Chair of Asian Studies for most of my tenure at Manhattanville, and am the faculty advisor for the college’s Anime Club.

wu Yubi_This past September I was happy to have my book, The Journal of Wu Yubi: the Path to Sagehood (Translated, with Introduction and Commentary by M. Theresa Kelleher) published by Hackett Publishing Co. The Manhattanville College Community celebrated the occasion with a Book Launch in the Library on November 6 that was sponsored by the World Religions Department. There was standing room only and all the books provided by the Bookstore for sell and signing were sold out. View photos from this special event!


My next project is to publish the material I have collected about American Maryknoll Catholic nuns working with Chinese Hakka women in the 1920’s through the 1940’s. Neither group of women was considered mainstream in their own tradition, and the particular nature of their exchanges made for creative and fascinating results. At the time I began the research nine years ago, four of the Maryknoll sisters were in their nineties, and still as spry and energetic as could be. I was able to tape my interviews with them.

My husband, Charles Adams, is a retired fund-raiser. He spent many years working for such groups as Save the Children, U.S. Committee for UNICEF, and CARE. My daughter, Clare Adams, is a senior at Goucher College in Maryland, busy applying to graduate programs in herpetology.

I owe a big debt of gratitude to Manhattanville. I had grown up in the south and had never before experienced the excitement of intellectual life as I discovered here. When I came in 1968 as a transfer student, Manhattanville and the whole country were thick in the midst of great changes and turmoil. They were exciting, if not, at times, unsettling times. The main reason I chose Manhattanville was its strong Asian Studies program, Manhattanville being one of the earliest small liberal arts colleges to develop one. It was here I began my long journey into the study of the cultures of China and Japan. But it wasn’t just the Asian Studies courses I remember. The year-long courses on Shakespeare and American Intellectual History made deep impressions on me. Even though these were not directly related to my major, they have ended up shaping the particular way I teach.

I continue to value Manhattanville as a place where I, as a faculty member, can continue its tradition of introducing students to the riches of the larger Asian world. I am pleased to point out that Joe Narus `86, current President of the Alumni Association Board, was one of my first Asian Studies majors way back in my early days of teaching. And the tradition didn’t stop there. His niece, Katy Alton, just graduated two years ago as an Asian Studies major. I look forward to more years at Manhattanville passing on the legacy of Asian Studies that was imparted to me as an undergraduate.