Chinese Modernity/French Education: Chinese journals published in France (1907 to 1934)

Principal investigator: Dr Hongling Liang, University of Glasgow

Funder: The Carnegie Trust, 2018-2019

This project will study four Chinese journals published in France from 1907 to 1934, as a means of examining how Francophile Chinese intellectuals approach and theorize the question of education and learning in the modernization process. In the first half of the twentieth century, France was regarded as the ideal embodiment of modernity by many Chinese intellectuals. A series of France based intellectual movements were initiated to experiment and look for the recipe of “being modern”. Education and learning is at the heart of their moments. Francophile Chinese intellectuals were engaged in vibrant publishing activities at this time and their journals were closely entwined with their intellectual and political ideals and activities. Ideas of education and learning are articulated and debated in the four journals that this project proposes to examine. These journals are related respectively to three intellectual and educational movements. First, the anarchist movement starting from 1907 which places education at the centre of their revolution project and claims “there is no morality other than learning”. Next, two educational programmes that the anarchists sponsored and developed in France. The “work-study” movement (1921-1927) which combines labour and learning to civilise Chinese workers to become hard-working citizens, and finally the Sino-French Institute (1925-1946) as an institutionalised educational model for learning. These journals will be be considered as a “text” representing not only the intellectual and editorial activities, but also providing materials to examine how the question of education and learning has been raised, theorized, debated and reshaped.