Call for chapters: Interculturality in Chinese language Education

Call for Chapters


Interculturality in Chinese Language Education


Eds. Tinghe Jin (IOE, London, UK) & Fred Dervin (University of Helsinki, Finland)



Deadline for abstracts: 1st May 2015


Volume to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in the Palgrave Studies on Chinese Education in a Global Perspective (Eds. Dervin/Du)





“A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.”
(Confucius, The Analects, ch. 14)




The teaching of Chinese is currently booming

around the world. Thousands of initiatives at all levels of the curriculum are taking place, promoted by Chinese authorities or local organisations. The same goes for Chinese teacher education and professional development.


Teaching the Chinese language requires also teaching about China, Chinese worlds and the Chinese themselves. But even though China is often described as a “monochrome forest” (Cheng, 2008), the country is an extremely diverse country of 1.3 billion inhabitants, comprising very different social, ethnic and linguistic groups. People from Yining (northwest of China in the Mongolian Uplands), Qiqihar (in the north-eastern part of the country) or Nanning (southern China) may have very little in common with each other, even though they share a passport. One does not even need to change regions; in Beijing for example, one can easily meet diverse people in a different district or even on a different street.




The concept of culture – as in Chinese culture – has often been the emphasis of Chinese language education, providing students with facts about China and recipes on how to meet the Chinese. This has often created some sort of ‘cultural taxidermy’ of the Chinese, which leads to limiting how Chinese people are perceived. Chinese culture, like all cultures, does not constitute an organic and close whole.




In the 2010s Chinese language education should invest in teaching interculturality between China and the rest of the world, China and the West but also among Chinese worlds (different regions of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, etc.). But how does one teach interculturality in relation to Chinese, especially if one wants to move beyond limited, solid and somewhat essentialising understandings of culture (see bibliography at the end of this call for definitions)?




In this volume interculturality refers to encounters between individuals who are from different geographical spaces (national, regional but also social) who are interested in questioning their views and opinions of the ‘other’ and the ‘self’ in order to construct a space of diverse diversities, social justice, and honest encounters. In relation to China, this means ‘show(ing) that there is not one unique way of thinking in China and to recognize the fact that China did not stop thinking in Ancient times, or when Western modernity was introduced to her’ (Cheng, 2007, p. 11). China, just like any other country, is a rich and complex place, with very diverse people. How could one take that seriously into account in Chinese language education?




The editors are interested in initiatives having taken place around the world to promote intercultural awareness, dialogue, and encounters in Chinese language education. The contributions should discuss and examine the inclusion of interculturality in Chinese language education.



The following topics can be dealt with:



  • Can Chinese language education contribute to developing intercultural competence?
  • work on stereotypes and representations of the Chinese in Chinese language education and the hidden ideologies behind them

    analysis of media constructions of China


    how to teach Chinese culture as a process rather than a product (beyond ‘cultural taxidermy’)


    the use of digital technologies to promote intercultural encounters in Chinese language education


    analysis of teaching materials ((e-)textbooks, apps, etc.): do they promote interculturality as defined above?


    how to train and educate teachers of Chinese (from China or elsewhere) to introduce work on interculturality in their lessons rather than mere cultural facts?













Abstract of proposed chapter (300 words):

1st May


Full chapters to be submitted: November 1st 2015

Authors are invited to submit a 300-word proposal (including a few lines about the author(s)) in English to both editors ( & – please no pdf!





The proposals should clearly explain the theoretical positioning and concerns of the proposed chapter, and include a short description of data (where applicable). A basic bibliography may also be added.




Please check the following references on interculturality:


Dervin, F. (2011). A plea for change in research on intercultural discourses: A ‘liquid’ approach to the study of the acculturation of Chinese students. Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 6(1), 37-52.

Dervin, F. & Risager, K. (Eds.) (2014). Researching Identity and Interculturality. New York: Routledge.


Holliday, A. (2010). Intercultural Communication and Ideology. London: Sage.


Holmes, P. (2014). Researching Chinese students’ intercultural communication experiences in higher education. In J. Byrd-Clark & F. Dervin (Eds.). Reflexivity in Language and Intercultural Education (pp. 100-118). New York: Routledge.


Jin, T. (2014). Getting to know you: The development of intercultural competence as an essential element in learning Mandarin. London Review of Education, Volume 12, 1, March 2014, 20-33.


Kirkebæk, M. J.; Du, X.; Aarup Jensen, A. (Eds.)(2013). Teaching and Learning Culture: Negotiating the Context. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers


Piller, I. (2010). Intercultural Communication. A Critical Approach. Edinburgh: EUP.


Skyrme, G. (2014). Being Chinese or Being Different: Chinese Undergraduates’ Use of Discourses of Chineseness. Front. Educ. China, 9(3). 303-326.