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Western Influences on Contemporary Chinese Art Education: Two Case Studies of Responses from Chinese Academics and College Students to Modern Western Art Theory

Title:

Western Influences on Contemporary Chinese Art Education: Two Case Studies of Responses from Chinese Academics and College Students to Modern Western Art Theory

Duan, Lian (2012) Western Influences on Contemporary Chinese Art Education: Two Case Studies of Responses from Chinese Academics and College Students to Modern Western Art Theory. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This study examines the question of how 20th-century Western art theory has influenced contemporary Chinese art education at the college level, focusing specifically on the problems of misreading, namely, mistranslation and misinterpretation. For this purpose, I offer two case studies: an analysis of my interviews with some Chinese academics, including art theorists and translators, and an analysis of Chinese college students’ essays responding to my lectures on visual culture.

The two case studies shed light on some basic questions: (1) What are the misreadings due to the cultural differences between China and the West? (2) Why and how have these misreadings happened? (3) Are there purposeful misreadings? (4) If yes, why and how? (5) And what is the possible significance of such misreadings to Chinese and Western art education?

Answering the above questions, two types of misreadings are identified. One is unintentional, such as mistranslation due to language and cultural barriers, while the other one is intentional or purposeful manipulation. In the two case studies, I examine the purposeful misreading of Western art theory, and demonstrate that it is the Chinese way to localize Western art theory for Chinese use. This claim is supported by the findings from my analyses of the interviews and Chinese students’ essays.

In this dissertation I suggest that the problem of purposeful misreading of modern Western art theory is caused by the traditional Chinese culture of respect for senior academics and the contemporary Chinese practice of localizing Western theory. The ingrained culture of respect for senior academics makes it difficult for junior academics to question and challenge the works of their superiors. Additionally, the Chinese academics tend to appropriate Western concepts and theories by making them accommodate Chinese values and the grand narrative of Chinese culture.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art Education
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Duan, Lian
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Art Education
Date:January 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Pariser, David
ID Code:973749
Deposited By:LIAN DUAN
Deposited On:20 Jun 2012 11:51
Last Modified:20 Jun 2012 11:51
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