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    Chinese academia’s going global needs characteristic elements

    Author  :  MAO HAORAN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-02-14

    In recent years, Chinese scholars have debated the challenges and approaches for contemporary Chinese academia to go global.

    To realize the goal, we need to take into account two complementary factors—characteristically Chinese elements and world attention. Why do Chinese elements need to be placed at a premium? Which Chinese elements really can attract the attention of international academic circles? What has the world’s attention now? Which Chinese elements are weaknesses for Chinese scholars in their quest to go global? These are the questions we need to think about.

    As China rapidly rises, its performance in multiple sectors is being spoken of more and more highly in the international arena. As such, Chinese scholars should also make their voices heard on the international academic stage. Chinese perspectives, Chinese solutions, Chinese discourse, Chinese interpretations, Chinese culture, the Chinese market, Chinese innovation and so on—these Chinese elements, which have already become an essential part of international academic circles, have their own unique and irreplaceable advantages.

    There is no denying that the research we are engaged in now, whether natural science or social science, is mostly carried out under the frameworks of Western theory. For China’s contemporary scholarship to go global, a form of headstrong courage is needed. The prerequisite for Chinese scholarship to win the world’s attention is to get familiar with international rules, academic discourse and academic norms, but still that will be far from enough.

    In the course of disseminating Chinese elements, two things remain to be done. One is to identify and select truly popular traditional Chinese culture. Second, it is necessary to conduct more pertinent international field surveys and effectiveness evaluations. The two Chinese classics Tao Te Ching and The Art of War have won extensive attention and praise for two reasons. First, the theoretical systems of the two, spanning time and space, have a philosophical resilience that transcends cultural boundaries. Second, their content has universal applicability, pertinence and feasibility and can be practiced in various sectors in different countries. We need to carefully analyze and evaluate the classics of Chinese culture and pay attention not only to selecting content but also the reason behind the selection, how the selected content can be spread, which audiences it will target, and its potential effectiveness.

    These major topics that concern the development of China and the wellbeing of its people contain many problems requiring urgent resolution. The feasible solutions to these problems are all possible focuses for international academia. Based on this, Chinese academia should identify the academic focal points and further grasp the current hot and cutting edge issues in international academia.

    These topics include supply-side reform, major risk prevention, global governance, the concept of overall national security, made in China 2025, targeted poverty alleviation, education and medical reform, special-population care and beautiful village construction.

    In addition, scientific thinking among Chinese scholars is still insufficient. Whether it is logical thinking, critical thinking or creative thinking, a gap still persists between many scholars and the norms of international academia and the requirements for going global. In addition to the ability to create grand narratives, the ability to delve in and focus on specific issues is also needed. One of the effective ways to solve these problems is problem-oriented professional guidance and targeted training. It is advisable to conduct scientific and effective training for young and middle-aged scholars through various platforms such as regular thematic forums and interdisciplinary teamwork.

    It is worth mentioning that in the process of going global, some scholars blindly worship and strive to fulfill the expectations of the West, which needs to be prevented. Of course, we don’t need to go to extremes either—resisting Western theories is also inadvisable. As the quote from the Analects says, “When you see a man of virtue, strive to equal them; when you see a man without virtue, examine yourself not to have the same defects.” Chinese contemporary scholarship is going global—this is a huge systematic project and cannot be accomplished in one stroke.

     

    Mao Haoran is dean of the College of Foreign Languages at Huaqiao University.

    Editor: Yu Hui

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