Civilising mission, transcultural flows and national subjectivity reading the historical experience of the Institut franco-chinois de Lyon (1921-1946) from a postcolonial perspective

Abstract : Reading from a postcolonial perspective the historical experience of a French educational establishment for Chinese youth in the 1920s - the Institut franco-chinois de Lyon - this article highlights the coincidence between the inscription of China in global modernity and the spread of a Chinese national imaginary. It questions the discursive connection between the Western colonial project of a 'civilising mission', applied here to the scientific education of a new Chinese elite and, in this context, the shaping of a peculiar Chinese national subject. This article understands this institution as a utopian synecdoche of China, being dressed simultaneously in the clothes of Chinese-ness and those of (Western) modernity. In this training school, where students endeavoured to become intellectuals and scientists fashioned by the methods, values and epistemologies of the French academic realm, in this place where students became familiar with 'modern' leisure and sports like football, tennis, cinema, snooker and so on, between those walls where students had to learn how to behave as 'civilised/westernised' modern men and women, China as a cultural, ethnic and national identity referent was, paradoxically, constantly mentioned in the discourse of both the students and the initiators of this educational institution.
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https://hal-univ-rennes1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02278476
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 4, 2019 - 2:02:08 PM
Last modification on : Friday, September 6, 2019 - 1:14:05 AM

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Florent Villard. Civilising mission, transcultural flows and national subjectivity reading the historical experience of the Institut franco-chinois de Lyon (1921-1946) from a postcolonial perspective. Postcolonial Studies, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2019, ⟨10.1080/13688790.2019.1643967⟩. ⟨hal-02278476⟩

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