Joyce Kislitzin Kallgren

By From page A4 | September 08, 2013

April 17, 1930 – Aug. 3, 2013

Joyce Kallgren, an emeritus professor of political science at UC Davis and a leading scholar of Chinese studies, died in Moraga on Aug. 3, 2013. She will be remembered by many former Davis students in comparative government and international relations for her energetic courses on the politics of China and East Asia, and by colleagues for her wise counsel and wry humor.

Joyce was born in San Francisco to Alexander and Dorothea Willett Kislitzin and attended St. Brigid School. She was a champion debater both at school and at UC Berkeley. After completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Cal, Joyce went to Harvard University where, unusually for a woman in those days, she obtained a Ph.D. in Chinese studies. She returned to her home in Berkeley to teach and write on Asian politics and quickly gained national recognition as a China expert.

In 1965, Joyce joined the Davis faculty but continued to be very much a citizen of and advocate for the university as a whole until she retired at the end of 1992. Whilst at Davis, for example, she also served for a time as chair of the Center for Chinese Studies and as acting director of the Institute for East Asian Studies at Berkeley. She was the co-editor of the journal Asian Survey, a frequent public lecturer on Chinese affairs, and a go-to person for the media when the shifting fortunes of the Chinese leadership needed explanation.

In addition to traveling frequently to China on her own, Joyce was the leader of various groups eager to experience China first-hand as it opened increasingly to the West. Her guests included chancellors, doctors, lawyers, and famously in 1976 a nonpartisan delegation of U.S. congresswomen, a visit her family thought might well have earned her a hazardous duty medal.

Joyce leaves behind her husband of 60 years, Ed Kallgren; daughter, Virginia Pegley; son, Charles Kallgren; and four grandchildren: Jackson Kallgren, Hugo Pegley, Hayden Pegley, and Caroline Kallgren.

A celebration of Joyce’s life will be held at the Berkeley Faculty Club later this month.

Special to The Enterprise

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