Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

5 - “Nation work”: Construction of Chinese National Identity by International Chinese Teachers

Saturday, July 7
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Chinar, First Floor

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Confucius Institute (CI), as a Chinese government sponsored organization for the promotion of Chinese language and culture abroad, has been an instrument of “Chinese soft power”. As a contribution to the “small-although rapidly growing” CI-related academic body from a perspective of micro-level day-to-day data, this study investigates “nation work” that the CI dispatched International Chinese teachers (ICTs) practice in Thailand. Following Timothy Brook, nation work is “construction of representation, the appropriation of national forms and ideas from abroad, struggles against rivals—and always the effort to disseminate and instill the results of elites work in as wide an audience as possible”. The ICTs who have been pinned many hopes from the motherland being named as “the modern Zhangqian” or “Chinese name cards” or “Chinese story tellers”, have actually been regarded as one group of “nation workers” to construct Chinese national identity abroad, which is the standardization process of Chineseness for “international neighbors”. The current research investigates the role of ICTs in northern Thai universities in three aspects: first, teaching Chinese—representing contemporary Chinese ideology; second, testing Chinese—building standardized Chinese language network; and third, enacting cultural activities--performing Chinese identity. The research is anticipated to contribute to the theory of Chinese national identity by investigating contemporary Chinese cultural nationalism which is claiming “a real China” and official nationalism which maybe representing “a politically right China” by government sponsored CI.   


  

Jiangyu Li

Chiang Mai University, Thailand

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