British Imperialism and Chinese Culture: Postwar Singapore and Hong Kong Chinese Higher Education

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentationPresentation

Abstract

From 1945 to 1959, the British encountered many challenges as they sought to re- establish their authority in Singapore and Hong Kong after reclai ming their colonies from Japan. In particular, they needed to greatly expand higher education for the pre- dominantly-Chinese populations of both places: wartime destruction of local colleges, combined with the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, meant that advanced students from these colonial communities could no longer go to mainland China for further education. Furthermore, the British believed higher education to be essential in order to prepare Singapore youth for the responsibilities of self-governance, which came in 1959, and to train Hong Kong students in intellectual freedom whilst bordering communist China. Both the Singapore and Hong Kong Chinese communi- ties pushed their colonial governments to expand higher education opportunities for their children. However, they also wanted to protect Chinese cultural identity and pro- mote Chinese ethnic advantage against the domination of English-medium education and Western knowledge as advocated by the British. They thus created new university institutions which would be at once culturally loyal to China, cognizant of modern Wes- tern scientific research, and championing of intercultural learning. This paper compares how Chinese donors, professors, and students in each colony manipulated the British educational concepts thrust onto them in order to create their own definitions of mo- dern higher education and its relationship to the Chinese intellectual tradition. It also analyzes British colonial views, as articulated by both government officials and British academicians, as to how higher education should develop in each place and why new curricular content and a re-prioritization of academic fields could secure the British imperial legacy in Asia. In so doing, it sheds light on the interplay between British and Chinese attitudes and actions regarding higher education in post-war colonial settings. *can be refocused for Working Group 3 if requested.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2012
EventXXV CESE Conference: Empires, Post-coloniality and Interculturality: Comparative Education between Past, Post, and Present - Spain, Salamanca, Spain
Duration: 18 Jun 201220 Jun 2012

Conference

ConferenceXXV CESE Conference: Empires, Post-coloniality and Interculturality: Comparative Education between Past, Post, and Present
Country/TerritorySpain
CitySalamanca
Period18/06/1220/06/12
OtherComparative Education Society of Europe

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