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Title: Competition and compromise between British missionaries and Chinese officials : the founding of Shanxi University in 1902
Author: Li, Aisi
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
This thesis is a narrative of the founding process of Shanxi University in 1902. Using historical research methods, I reconstruct the negotiations between the British missionaries and the Shanxi officials, and investigate the factors that turned a planned missionary college into a Chinese government university. The approval to establish a missionary college in Shanxi Province, the Sino- Western University, was a part of the compensation by the Shanxi Provincial Government for the loss of lives and properties of Protestant missionaries during the Boxer Movement in late Qing China. This university was originally designed to be managed by missionaries, headed by Timothy Richard. However, from the day the plan was endorsed by the central government, the Shanxi provincial officials, led by Cen Chunxuan, started scheming to rival its influence, at the heart of which was the foundation of Shanxi Provincial University. To minimise the obstacles to developing the missionary college and reduce misunderstanding on the part of the Shanxi people, the missionaries entered negotiations with Shanxi officials, first to open the Sino- Western University and then to seek cooperation in running it. These negotiations eventually led to the amalgamation of the two universities into Shanxi University, governed by the Provincial Government. Through examination of a wide selection of primary and secondary sources, this study reveals the complex negotiation process to establish a British missionary college in China: First, the strong military presence of Britain did not seem to guarantee an advantage in the negotiations between the missionaries and Shanxi officials. In fact, the missionaries were facing the provincial authorities on their own, as the British authorities did not provide them with sufficient support. Second, the Shanxi officials were not passive recipients of a foreign educational institution. They exerted great effort to modify the university proposed by the British missionaries before its founding, and to direct the amalgamated university to suit their needs. Third, individuals played an important role in the negotiations. Their final decisions sometimes deviated from their original plans and even their principles. Throughout this study, I have intended to draw attention to the complex process through which a foreign model enters another local context. Either the foreign participants gradually tailor their practices to fit in, or the local participants actively and gradually trim the model so that it suits the local context. These changes are seen even when the latter is under pressure to accept foreign practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.552764  DOI: Not available
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