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China in the World: An Anthropology of Confucius Institutes, Soft Power, and Globalization (Paperback)
  • China in the World: An Anthropology of Confucius Institutes, Soft Power, and Globalization (Paperback)
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China in the World: An Anthropology of Confucius Institutes, Soft Power, and Globalization (Paperback)

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£32.95
Paperback 246 Pages / Published: 30/01/2020
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Confucius Institutes, the language and culture programs funded by the Chinese government, have been established in more than 1,500 schools worldwide since their debut in 2004. A centerpiece of China's soft power policy, they represent an effort to smooth China's path to superpower status by enhancing its global appeal. Yet Confucius Institutes have given rise to voluble and contentious public debate in host countries, where they have been both welcomed as a source of educational funding and feared as spy outposts, neocolonial incursions, and obstructions to academic freedom. China in the World turns an anthropological lens on this most visible, ubiquitous, and controversial globalization project in an effort to provide fresh insight into China's shifting place in the world.

Author Jennifer Hubbert takes the study of soft power policy into the classroom, offering an anthropological intervention into a subject that has been dominated by the methods and analyses of international relations and political science. She argues that concerns about Confucius Institutes reflect broader debates over globalization and modernity and ultimately about a changing global order. Examining the production of soft power policy in situ allows us to move beyond program intentions to see how Confucius Institutes are actually understood and experienced in day-to-day classroom interactions. By assessing the perspectives of participants and exploring the complex ways in which students, teachers, parents, and program administrators interpret the Confucius Institute curriculum, she highlights significant gaps between China's soft power policy intentions and the effects of those policies in practice.

China in the World brings original, long-term ethnographic research to bear on how representations of and knowledge about China are constructed, consumed, and articulated in encounters between China, the United States, and the Confucius Institute programs themselves. It moves a controversial topic beyond the realm of policy making to examine the mechanisms through which policy is implemented, engaged, and contested by a multitude of stakeholders and actors. It provides new insight into how policy actually works, showing that it takes more than financial wherewithal and official resolve to turn cultural presence into power.

Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
ISBN: 9780824884260
Number of pages: 246
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Jennifer Hubbert's fascinating book casts a critical lens on China's most important yet controversial project for cultivating soft power. Eschewing simplistic arguments about assumed censorship and threats to liberal democracy, her rich ethnographic study of the Confucius Institute program shows what actually happens in the classroom and how cultural knowledge about China is produced and consumed. In the process, Hubbert invites us to question the concept of free speech and rethink fundamental Western assumptions about modernity and globalisation. China in the World is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding contemporary US-China relations, cultural diplomacy, and the anthropology of policy.-- "H-Diplo"
Jennifer Hubbert's China in the World is therefore a timely ethnographic look at what actually happens in US-hosted CIs. [Confucius Institutes] . . . The main contribution of China in the World may be to challenge critics of CIs to be more reflective about their conceptual assumptions.-- "H-Diplo"
The main problem with Confucius Institutes, as Hubbert so clearly shows, is not that they curtail free speech or violate human rights, but that they are implemented through administrative agreements that affront liberal democratic principles of shared governance by which teachers and faculty, not administrators or politicians, are recognized as experts of their fields. Written with empathy and understanding for Confucius Institute teachers and students, China in the World is an important read for everyone interested in unpacking the complexity of arguments about Confucius Institutes today.-- "H-Diplo"

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