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School in Ren Village, A: A Historical-Ethnographical Study of China's Educational Changes
Published by Springer Verlag Singapore
By adopting oral history and fieldwork methods and exploring historical data, this book chronologically depicts the development of the schools and education in a village in North China over a century. The book reveals how education and school life in the rural village are being impacted not only by its own history and traditions, but also by external powers; more specifically, the development of rural schools is influenced by the tensions between Chinese and Western culture, between history and reality, between countryside and cities, and between national and local powers. In essence, villagers' educational experience is actually a battlefield for school education and local tradition - the children's lives are dominated by school education, leaving local traditions few opportunities to exert an influence. The study also discusses how school education and local traditions have influenced villagers' social mobility, a topic that has rarely been studied in previous literature. In summary, rural schools have been developing within an interactive network composed of various actors. With the fading of national power since the 1980s, local rural actors have enjoyed a much more liberal social and political space and thus now play a more active role in rural education. Presenting a microcosm that reflects the historical development of rural education in China, the book is a valuable resource for researchers in the field of in rural education, educational history, and educational anthropology, as well as for readers interested in rural education in China.
1. Introduction.- 1.1 The Reasons for Studying the Education of a Village.- 1.2 How to Implement Research.- 1.3 Previous Studies.- 2. Prelude.- 2.1 Occurrence.- 2.2 The Scene of the Event.- 2.3 The Space-time Coordinate of the Event.- 2.4 An Extended Suspense.- 3. One Village in North China.- 3.1 Geography and Climate in Northern China.- 3.2 The History and Society of W County: A County filled with Turmoil and Chaos of War as well as Famine in the Collective Memory.- 3.3 Location of the Village and External Social Connection.- 3.4 Conclusion.- 4. History and Society of the Village.- 4.1 Early History of the Village.- 4.2 A Murky Period.- 4.3 The Community Environment of Ren Village.- 4.4 Four Natural Conditions, Land Utilization, and External Market in Village.- 4.5 Extroversion of the Village: Getting Involved in a Large Outer Market System.- 4.6 Family Names, Families, and Division of Social Space in the Village.- 4.7 Living and Yard Pattern of Ren Village.- 5. Heritage of Late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China: Replacement of New Education for Old Education.- 5.1 The Beginning of New Education as Seen from Outside Ren Village.- 5.2 Schools and Education in Ren Village: Personal Circumstances and Life History of Intellectual People.- 6. New Schools and Educated People.- 6.1 The Course of Schools Introduced to the Village.- 6.2 Graduates Produced by the School.- 6.3 Reflections: the Significance of School for the Village and the Villagers.- 7. The Private School after 1991.- 7.1 Private Schools in the Context of the Historical and Social Space.- 7.2 Yucai School's Environment and Life: City Cultural Image and its Variation.- 8. Epilogue.- 8.1 The Dissolution of the Junior High School.- 8.2 Escape of 6th Grade Students.- 8.3 The Incubation and Development of a Modern Study Hall: Another Unexpected Result.- 8.4 The Outcome: Yucai School in Interaction and Competition.- 8.5 The Follow-up Effects and Prospects of Yucai School.- 8.6 The Implication of the Ending.- 9. Conclusion.- 9.1 Logic and Methods of Writing.- 9.2 Research Methods and Highlights of Innovation.- Appendix A:The Name List of Important People in the Book.- Appendix B:The List of Main Places in the Book.- References and Bibliography.- Postscript and Acknowledgements.
Hongchang SI currently works in the Chinese National Academy of Education Administration. He studied at Hebei University, Beijing Normal University and then East China Normal University. In his research, he examines rural education and higher education from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining history, anthropology and sociology. His PhD thesis, from which the book was translated, was awarded the National 100 Excellent Doctoral Dissertations in 2008.
Reviewer: Caleb Simmons
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