China and Inner Asia
Childhood and education possess an intrinsically universal component: they have been a part of social organisations and of human thought since ancient times, whilst also being strongly influenced by the cultural environment at hand. In China, the concept of education was systematised by Confucius, who identified a connection between moral betterment and social stability. Education as personal cultivation, alongside the significance of ritual practices and human relations for the foundation of an ideal society, have been recurring tropes within the varied traditions of Chinese pedagogy. While canonical texts and behavioural norms have played a constant and crucial role in shaping children’s original characters, the development of educational theories and practices throughout Chinese history has also been deeply influenced by endogenous and exogenous doctrines such as Daoism, Buddhism, Christianity and Western thought.
How did educational practices and representations of children change across the centuries? Which precepts survived different forms of government and which instead underwent reconfiguration? This panel seeks to address these central questions by drawing upon a varied corpus of primary sources spanning from the late-Ming period to the 1950s. The overall purpose is to explore how young people’s moral formation was designed and implemented in light of encounters with external elements and changing historical contexts, while at the same time demonstrating how the scope of education in China was perceived to extend beyond individual children and households as a pillar which guaranteed social order.
Paper Presenter: Giulia Falato – University of Oxford
Paper Presenter: Elizabeth Smithrosser – International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden
Paper Presenter: Renata Vinci – University of Palermo
Paper Presenter: Mariia Guleva – Charles University (Prague)