Educating New Generations for Republican China: Scholars, Western Ideologies and Political Conflicts

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Educating New Generations for Republican China: Scholars, Western Ideologies and Political Conflicts
Stream: History
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Authors:
Ziqi Wu, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (organizer, presenter)
Siu Ping Sammantha Ho, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (presenter)
Zhen Zhang, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (presenter)
Yiqiao Yan, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (chair)

Abstract:

There have been continuous and diverse debates on the reform of the Chinese educational system among the elites from the late 19th century. To foster new generations for the modern nation-building, some scholars and social activists introduced western ideologies and educational philosophies in their practices during their services in universities in the first two decades of Republican China. Cai Yuanpei, the eminent president of Peking University, proposed the “aesthetic education” to realize his ideas of humanism from Europe. By contrast, Kuo Ping Wen, the founder of National Southeastern University, with the adoption of American education model, emphasized the real-world application of knowledge and ideas. On the other hand, Liang Shuming became a pioneer of mass education in rural areas after his career at Peking University. Similarly, all of them received western education in their early years and got involved in political conflicts such as student movements and civil wars launched by the Nationalist. Their active participations in public affairs reflect that the rapid changes in the 20th century Chinese society and closer connections to the world. The three papers take these educators as case studies, which aim at discussing their initiatives in modern Chinese education with the employment of western ideologies and traditional culture in Chinese context. In the commitment of new generations for Republican China, what are their reactions to the nation-state and how they negotiate with government interventions in their professional spheres?