The Web of Confucius: Evolution and Revolution in Chinese Higher Education

By Nancy Lynch Street and Marilyn J. Matelski.

Published by The Learner, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing

Format Price
Book: Print $US40.00
Book: Electronic $US15.00

Chinese schools are thought to have begun in the Western Zhou (11th century to 770 B.C.), and continued through Confucius' time (551-479 B.C., and far beyond), emphasizing the "six arts"-ritual, music, archery, charioteering, history (including calligraphy), and mathematics.

Extrapolating, adapting, and charting these Confucian ideals through several historic eras, the authors use a systems theory-based web model to demonstrate these cultural influences on Chinese higher education. The authors also argue that this "Confucian" web deeply influenced Deng Xiaoping's "long march" towards China's global development. Political, financial, technological, social and cultural imperatives of China's entrance into the global mainstream have, in turn, further affected the escalating evolution of education in China's universities.

The authors-professors in both the American and the Chinese higher education systems-also develop an argument for delving deeply into culture, utilizing historical-critical methodology, buttressed by a conceptual understanding useful in analyzing the development of similar systems throughout the world. In addition, they present an historic, multi-faceted view of China's many incursions into the global world system, to build a truly astonishing higher education system in 2009. This rapid response further illustrates the strong foundation and societal and governmental support-upon which the current Chinese educational system continues to build.

Keywords: Higher Education, Confucius

Book: Print (Paperback). Book: Electronic (PDF File; 2.930MB). Published by The Learner, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing, Champaign, Illinois.

Dr. Nancy Lynch Street

Professor, Communication Studies Department, Bridgewater State University, South Easton, MA, USA

Dr. Nancy Lynch Street is a full professor of Communication Studies at Bridgewater State University (BSU), Bridgewater, MA. Over the past thirty years, Street has served twice as the Exchange Professor from BSU to Shanxi Teacher’s University in Linfen, in addition to numerous other China-related projects in the United States and in China. She has received two Fulbright Study Group awards (to Taiwan, South Korea and the PRC) and one Fulbright Senior Specialist grant to consult with Beijing Jiaotong University. In addition to developing curriculum, with emphasis on theory, Intercultural Communication and Globalization, Street has served as Graduate Coordinator, Department Chairperson and Coordinator of the Center for Research and Learning (CART). She has also traveled throughout Greece, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Russia, Scandinavia, Mexico and Cuba. Using participant observation, interviewing and ethnography she has co-authored multiple books on China, war and film and social change. Her first book, In Search of Red Buddha: Higher Education in China After Mao Zedong, 1985-1990 was reissued in 2004. Currently, Dr. Street’s latest book (co-authored with Dr. Marilyn Matelski of Boston College, entitled Web of Confucius was issued in 2009.

Dr. Marilyn J. Matelski

Professor, Communication Department, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA

Dr. Marilyn J. Matelski is a tenured full professor at Boston College, having received her B.A. from Michigan State University, as well as M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has taught in the Communication Department at BC since 1978, where she served as Chairperson from 1995 to 1998. Her scholarly interests include areas of intercultural communication, cultural diversity and media studies. She has authored and/or co-authored fourteen books, more than a dozen journal articles and numerous convention papers on topics ranging from soap operas to Vatican Radio. Most recently, she has concentrated her research efforts on social change in China, Cuba and parts of Eastern Europe, emphasizing the impact of media and education in reformulating a nation’s cultural landscape.


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