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John Dewey in China

To Teach and to Learn

Jessica Ching-Sze Wang

Publication Year: 2007

Combining biography with philosophy, this book explores John Dewey’s two-year trip to China (1919–1921) and its legacy for him as a teacher and a learner. Jessica Ching-Sze Wang looks at how Dewey was received in China, what he learned, and how he was changed as a result. She examines the intriguing dynamics shaping China’s reactions to Dewey and Dewey’s interpretations of China, and details the evolving process in which Dewey came to understand China on its own terms, rather than from Eurocentric perspectives. Tracing China’s influence on Dewey, Wang considers how his visit contributed to the subsequent development of his social and political philosophy. China provided a unique vantage point for Dewey to observe international politics, which led him to reconsider the meaning of internationalism. Also, his exposure to Chinese communal culture enabled him to reject the Western preoccupation with democracy in politics and to emphasize democracy as all-encompassing culture. Finally, Wang discusses how Dewey’s own observations and appraisals of Chinese society can give credence to the notion of Confucian democracy for China.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Front Matter

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pp. i-iv

CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. vii-viii

My study on John Dewey’s visit to China could not have been possible without the assistance and support of many individuals. First, I would like to thank Dr. Roger Ames and Dr. Jim Tiles for introducing...

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1: DEWEY AND MAY FOURTH CHINA

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pp. 1-12

The American philosopher John Dewey visited China in May 1919 and departed in July 1921. Coinciding with the well-known May Fourth movement, Dewey’s two-year visit demarcated a significant episode in the history of intellectual exchange between...

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2: DEWEY AS A TEACHER

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pp. 13-40

As a teacher, Dewey taught the Chinese everything he knew. The corpus of his lectures in China consists of seven lecture series and myriad occasional talks, amounting to nearly 200 lectures. His lecture series delivered in Beijing, which Hu Shih translated, include...

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3: THE RECEPTION OF DEWEY IN CHINA

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pp. 41-64

Judging from the wide circulation and the immense popularity of Dewey’s lectures in China, one would expect to find many commentaries about Dewey in the hundreds of publications that emerged during the May Fourth period. However, secondary literature...

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4: DEWEY AS A LEARNER

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pp. 65-86

Many know that Dewey went to China to teach, but few know that he went also because he wanted to learn. Dewey taught the Chinese a lot about the West and learned a great deal about China. He originally intended to stay a few months. Nonetheless, he kept his heart...

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5: THE INFLUENCE OF CHINA ON DEWEY’S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

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pp. 87-120

The previous chapter explored Dewey’s learning experiences in China during his visit. This chapter is devoted to tracing Dewey’s intellectual development in relation to his visit to China, focusing mainly on his social and political philosophy. I compare Dewey’s political...

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6: CONTINUING THE DIALOGUE ON DEWEY AND CHINA

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pp. 121-124

The final chapter is devoted to promoting a continuing dialogue on Dewey and China. Before I offer suggestions for future research, let me recapitulate the significance of my study. First, it is a historical recounting of Dewey’s visit to China from his own perspectives....

NOTES

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pp. 125-140

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 141-148

INDEX

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pp. 149-152


E-ISBN-13: 9780791479544
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791472033

Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
Series Editor Byline: Roger T. Ames

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Subject Headings

  • China -- Foreign relations -- United States.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- China.
  • Political science -- Philosophy.
  • Education -- Philosophy.
  • Dewey, John, 1859-1952.
  • Social sciences -- Philosophy.
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