China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Pedagogy and media develop hand in hand. How knowledge is transmitted influences the conveyed content, while pedagogical practice also stimulates the development of new media.
This panel addresses late imperial Chinese pedagogical practices from three different perspectives – self-cultivation (Rivi Handler-Spitz), calligraphy (Monica Klasing Chen) and literacy (Sarah Schneewind). It will discuss how the growing number of printed books and manuals affected pedagogical practices and transmitted content in these fields. Its aim is to investigate how authors engaged diverse audiences through text.
The papers will identify changes in pedagogical materials that enabled individuals to acquire knowledge on their own, but at the same time question the extent to which the content of the materials was actually accessible to audiences. Each paper will address one aspect of education: ideology, practice and accessibility. In the first two papers, the late-imperial transition toward eccentricity and autodidacticism provides the framework to investigate new concerns that arose from the shift away from formal instruction. In order to explore innovations in pedagogical practices, they analyze oral transmission and visuality as means to convey expertise, straddling the gap between textual and practical knowledge. The third paper addresses literacy in the same period with results from a digital tool, the Late Imperial Primer Literacy Sieve, and with questions the Sieve might answer. The Sieve uses standard primers to assess the reading ability of less-educated audiences, so China historians can think about how such people read texts.