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Waving the banner of simple and easy: Popular education and alternative visions of citizenship in late Qing China

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Abstract:

Following the Qing government’s decision to abolish the civil-service examination system in 1905, education reformers writing for Jiaoyu zazhi [The Chinese Educational Review] set about establishing a new system of public education under the banner of educating “citizens,” or guomin. My research looks critically at various reform proposals expressed in Jiaoyu zazhi during its first year of publication (1909) in an effort to better characterize the possibilities and tensions inherent in late Qing notions of guomin. By exploring the diverse conceptions of “education for citizens” present among late Qing educational reformers, I hope to complicate the existing historiography on education in China, which has tended to overemphasize the influence of Western and Japanese educational theory and has anachronistically projected early educational reform goals onto later political movements. The research presented is part of an ongoing dissertation study that uses poststructuralist analysis developed by feminist political scientists and postcolonial critical theorists to examine the cultural and intellectual processes by which education reformers re-envisioned the relationship between “the people” (min), knowledge, and the state in early twentieth-century China. My close reading of Jiaoyu zazhi reveals that while almost all of the contributors professed the need to popularize education for guomin, this shared vocabulary obscures key differences among the visions of citizenship each reformer espoused, as well as among potential students targeted by reform. While notions of citizenship would become more uniform throughout the Republican period, these differences indicate that the final years of the Qing dynasty marked a particular moment of historical possibility in which multiple meanings of citizenship were still possible.
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Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p485790_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Smith, Zachary. "Waving the banner of simple and easy: Popular education and alternative visions of citizenship in late Qing China" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Apr 30, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p485790_index.html>

APA Citation:

Smith, Z. P. , 2011-04-30 "Waving the banner of simple and easy: Popular education and alternative visions of citizenship in late Qing China" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p485790_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Following the Qing government’s decision to abolish the civil-service examination system in 1905, education reformers writing for Jiaoyu zazhi [The Chinese Educational Review] set about establishing a new system of public education under the banner of educating “citizens,” or guomin. My research looks critically at various reform proposals expressed in Jiaoyu zazhi during its first year of publication (1909) in an effort to better characterize the possibilities and tensions inherent in late Qing notions of guomin. By exploring the diverse conceptions of “education for citizens” present among late Qing educational reformers, I hope to complicate the existing historiography on education in China, which has tended to overemphasize the influence of Western and Japanese educational theory and has anachronistically projected early educational reform goals onto later political movements. The research presented is part of an ongoing dissertation study that uses poststructuralist analysis developed by feminist political scientists and postcolonial critical theorists to examine the cultural and intellectual processes by which education reformers re-envisioned the relationship between “the people” (min), knowledge, and the state in early twentieth-century China. My close reading of Jiaoyu zazhi reveals that while almost all of the contributors professed the need to popularize education for guomin, this shared vocabulary obscures key differences among the visions of citizenship each reformer espoused, as well as among potential students targeted by reform. While notions of citizenship would become more uniform throughout the Republican period, these differences indicate that the final years of the Qing dynasty marked a particular moment of historical possibility in which multiple meanings of citizenship were still possible.


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