The Glocalization of the Catholic Church in the Context of Higher Education in China in the First Half of the 20th Century

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    The proposed project will investigate the glocalization of the Catholic Church in the context of higher education in China in the first half of the 20th century. The research objective is to gain insight into the possibility of future Chinese-Western ventures in elite higher education in Chinese society. Although glocalization is a modern neologism, which refers to the enactment of global concerns in a local context, the term applies equally to the adaptation of foreign missionaries in China, the indigenization of the Chinese Catholic Church and the cultivation of the Chinese Christian elite in the first half of the 20th century. The proposed project will address the expansion of the Catholic Church through the dispersal of foreign missionaries worldwide, especially in China in the early 20th century. It will investigate the very significant contribution of the Catholic Church to China’s development, specifically in founding two institutions of elite higher education, namely Zhendan University (Aurora University, 震旦大學, 1903-1952) in Shanghai and Furen University (輔仁大學, 1925-1952) in Beijing. The principal investigator (PI) hopes to conduct an in-depth study of these two universities in the coming years, after which she will examine a third Catholic tertiary institute: the Higher Institute of Industrial and Commercial Education in Tianjin (1921-1952).

    The project will be groundbreaking in three respects. First, the PI will take an unprecedentedly detailed and multi-archival approach to the glocalization of the Catholic Church in China. Second, the focus of the project will be limited to two Catholic universities in China. Although previous research has been conducted on these two universities, no scholars have to date compared Zhendan University and Furen University (not to mention the Tianjin Institute) in a single monograph. Third, the project will highlight three prominent Christian intellectuals who worked with the foreign Catholic missionaries to provide higher education, namely Ma Xiangbo (馬相伯, 1840-1939), Ying Lianzhi (英斂之, 1867-1926) and Chen Yuan (陳垣, 1880-1971). Although scholars have discussed these intellectuals individually, the proposed project will be the first to compare and contrast their philosophical approaches to modernization, education and Westernization. The activities of the Chinese elite who worked with the foreign missionaries will be assessed to determine how both Chinese Christian intellectuals and foreign missionaries contributed to the glocalization of the Catholic Church through their devotion to elite higher education.
    Effective start/end date1/09/1528/02/18


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