Walton, The “Spirit” of Confucian Education in Contemporary China

Readers may be interested in this new article: Linda Walton, “The ‘Spirit’ of Confucian Education in Contemporary China: Songyang Academy and Zhengzhou University,” Modern China 44:3 (May, 2018), available on-line here. The abstract follows:

The recent reincarnation of Songyang Academy, one of the “Four Great Academies” of the Northern Song dynasty, is an example of “academy fever” 书院热 in China today. Along with nearby Shaolin Temple, the academy has become a site for cultural heritage tourism in northwestern Henan. In addition to its attraction as a tourist destination, however, Songyang Academy has also been appropriated by neighboring Zhengzhou University as an auxiliary Confucian campus. Focusing on its relationship with Zhengzhou University, this article considers Songyang Academy’s restoration in the context of current debates in China about modern university education, Confucianism, and “national studies” (guoxue 国学). The Zhengzhou University–Songyang Academy partnership provides a concrete, if ambivalent, example of cultural governance in action, as provincial Communist Party officials and university administrators collaborate to produce a national studies curriculum rooted in their vision of Confucian pedagogy.

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