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Confucian Academies vs. State School

Project by Martin Gehlmann

Confucian academies were traditionally viewed as antipode to the educational institutions of the state. Their relationship was often described as that of competitors, with Confucian academies replacing the state schools. Accordingly, the character of both institutions is often portrayed and discussed as dichotomous; Confucian elite education vs. basic training in the Confucian canon, private education vs. state education, self-cultivation vs. civil service examinations, new ideological movements vs. conservative orthodoxy. However, the relation between both is defined by a much higher degree of hybridity, as can be seen in the Chinese case. The subproject will examine this fluidity between academies and state schools by looking at entrance exams and the civil service examinations and analyze the corresponding movements and networks of knowledge. Furthermore, the subproject will similarly look at discourses about Confucian academies and state schools in China and how they influenced both institutions in Korea.