Philosophical Element Completes Comprehensive Overhaul

By Wheeler, Carolynne | The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE, January 10, 2013 | Go to article overview

Philosophical Element Completes Comprehensive Overhaul


Wheeler, Carolynne, The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE


School of Humanities bolsters Tsinghua's ascent to global elite, Carolynne Wheeler hears in Beijing.

For Beijing's Tsinghua University, reopening an independent School of Humanities was the completion of a circle broken in China's Communist Revolution 60 years ago.

But even at Tsinghua, China's most prestigious higher education institution, academic freedom is constrained by the political system.

The ribbon-cutting at the School of Humanities in October marked the final step in Tsinghua's efforts to establish itself as a truly comprehensive university. It also furthers its ambition to join a global elite that includes Oxbridge and the US Ivy League institutions.

"In some ways we have just come back to somewhere we have been before," said Wan Junren, the former chair of philosophy at Tsinghua who is head of the new school. "We basically speak as if we have finished rebuilding the humanities and social sciences ... Now you can say Tsinghua University is a proper comprehensive university."

Established in 1911 as a prep school for students who would continue on to the US, Tsinghua opened the precursor to its School of Humanities, the graduate school's Institute of Chinese Studies, in 1925. This blended Chinese and Western approaches and modern and classical styles, and it featured the "Four Great Tutors": Chinese scholars Wang Guowei, Liang Qichao, Chen Yinke and Zhao Yuanren.

But that tradition was dismantled abruptly after the 1949 revolution. With the subsequent campaign of "thought reform" to indoctrinate the population and the reorganisation of universities on a Soviet model, Tsinghua's social sciences and humanities programmes were disassembled in 1952 and its academic staff sent to other institutions, leaving Tsinghua as a polytechnic institute.

The return of Tsinghua, which is often referred to as China's equivalent of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to a comprehensive university has been gradual. It began under Deng Xiaoping's Reform and Opening campaign in the late 1970s. Then, in 1993, a small, combined school of humanities and social sciences was re-established.

Today, the new, separate School of Humanities has four departments, 2,200 students and 240 academic staff, making it one of the university's largest schools. It also houses an institute of Chinese language and culture to help foreign students at Tsinghua improve their Mandarin Chinese.

"I feel a little relaxed that we have finished the reconstruction of our humanities and social sciences education system. I do believe our president feels the same as I do," Professor Wan said in an interview in English at the school in December. "At the same time, I feel a little challenged. Now we feel in some sense a little worried about how to improve our school in an international way and how to enrich our teaching courses system and improve our academic studies."

Plugged in to the world

Officially named one of China's top universities (it is in the C9 League of nine elite national institutions), Tsinghua qualifies for extra government support to attract both overseas Chinese and foreign academics. Its efforts to foster international links are accelerating. It runs exchange programmes with Columbia University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Hawaii, among others; in 2010 it opened the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy.

Another cooperative effort is translating key Western philosophical works into Chinese and making the output of China's great philosophers available in English. Professor Wan said that a new volume published in New York or London today is likely to be translated into Chinese within three or four months, rather than the two-year lag of a decade ago.

A series of translations of the most influential Chinese intellectuals for Princeton University Press is being edited by Daniel A. Bell, the Montreal-born professor of political theory and director of the Center for International and Comparative Political Philosophy at Tsinghua. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Philosophical Element Completes Comprehensive Overhaul
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.