The Esherick-Ye Foundation was established in 2016.  The Foundation was formed by Joseph W. Esherick and Ye Wa so that they could use their modest savings to support the sort of scholarship on China to which they have devoted their lives. The foundation believes that careful, empirically based, clearly reasoned scholarship is far more valuable than work with the superficial appeal that comes from novelty or clever speculation. This is the sort of work that Esherick encouraged from the students he mentored at UCSD, and that Ye Wa has promoted in archaeology. The Foundation was established to support this sort of basic research and field work by young scholars.  We welcome donations from other individuals and foundations that support this mission.

The Foundation’s initial intent was to enable brief visits to China by young scholars exploring potential PhD dissertation topics, or junior faculty gathering new material to turn dissertations into books. More recently, as funding from other large foundations or the U.S. Fulbright program has dried up, more grants have been used to supplement local university funding for dissertation research. While recent limits on archival access and field work have made research in the People’s Republic of China more challenging, the Foundation remains committed to supporting basic research on the history and archeology of China. During the Covid-19 pandemic, amid travel restrictions, some scholars opted to conduct their research in Taiwan, and the Foundation has been fully supportive of such projects. With the re-opening of the Mainland after the pandemic, scholars have begun to return to China, a development that we welcome.