This article examines the early history and evolution of the concept of jiaohua (教化 educational transformation) as a reference to civilizing missions in China. It explores Ru (Confucian) concepts advocating the widespread education of the masses, showing how such concepts were linked to notions of ethnicity and moral attainment. Then it contextualizes the first uses of educational transformation in writings concerning statecraft. Xunzi emerges as a pivotal figure who helped adapt the statecraft rhetoric on educational transformation to the largely Ru goal of spreading a morally superior Huaxia culture among the masses and to peoples of other cultures. I then move beyond this conceptual history to examine a few civilizing missions in the Han era. My purpose is to link large-scale, civilizing missions in Chinese history with the early philosophical rhetoric and show how history was shaped by these underlying conceptual orientations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies