Summary and Info
Combining biography with philosophy, this book explores John Dewey’s two-year trip to China (1919–1921) and its legacy for him as a teacher and a learner. Jessica Ching-Sze Wang looks at how Dewey was received in China, what he learned, and how he was changed as a result. She examines the intriguing dynamics shaping China’s reactions to Dewey and Dewey’s interpretations of China, and details the evolving process in which Dewey came to understand China on its own terms, rather than from Eurocentric perspectives. Tracing China’s influence on Dewey, Wang considers how his visit contributed to the subsequent development of his social and political philosophy. China provided a unique vantage point for Dewey to observe international politics, which led him to reconsider the meaning of internationalism. Also, his exposure to Chinese communal culture enabled him to reject the Western preoccupation with democracy in politics and to emphasize democracy as all-encompassing culture. Finally, Wang discusses how Dewey’s own observations and appraisals of Chinese society can give credence to the notion of Confucian democracy for China.
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