2019 Sydney Chinese Studies Seminar Series: The religious world in Chinese social studies textbooks
2019 Sydney Chinese Studies Seminar Series
Organised by the Department of Chinese Studies in collaboration with the China Studies Centre ‘Language, Literature, Culture and Education’ Research Cluster
The religious world in Chinese social studies textbooks
Speaker: Zhenzhou Zhao (Education University of Hong Kong)
The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China mandates a separation of religion and education: citizens enjoy freedom of religious belief, but the exercise of this freedom must not ‘disrupt public order’, ‘impair the health of citizens’ or ‘interfere with the educational system of the state’. The purpose of this study is to explore the representation and interpretation of the religious world in Chinese social studies textbooks.
The research findings indicate that Chinese textbooks introduce students to a variety of religious traditions. Three discursive frames are used to categorise the information selected to represent religion and its interpretation in the discourse of Chinese curriculum texts. The study suggests that although the framing of religion in China’s social studies curriculum reflects the state’s secularisation agenda, it also leaves space for further exploration of the meaning of religion.
Zhenzhou Zhao is Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Sciences, and Co-Director of the Centre for Governance and Citizenship at the Education University of Hong Kong. Her research interests are sociology of education, citizenship studies, cultural diversity, and gender studies. She is the author of China’s Mongols at University: Contesting Cultural Recognition (2010, Lexington Press). She also co-edited a volume entitled Citizenship Education in China: Preparing Citizens for “the Chinese Century” (with Kerry J. Kennedy and Gregory P. Fairbrother, Routledge, 2014). She published articles in scholarly journals such as Citizenship Studies, International Studies in Sociology of Education, Gender and Education, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, British Journal of Religious Education, and Cambridge Journal of Education.
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