Member book, Jennifer Hubbert, China in the World: An Anthropology of Confucius Institutes, Soft Power, and Globalization

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I'm happy to announce the publication of my book on Confucius Institutes: China in the World: An Anthropology of Confucius Institutes, Soft Power, and Globalization with University of Hawaii Press.

ISBN-13: 9780824878207

246 pages

In this book I explore the world of Confucius Institutes, language and culture programs funded by the Chinese government. As a centerpiece of China’s soft power policy, they represent an effort to smooth China’s path to superpower status by enhancing its global appeal. Yet Confucius Institutes have given rise to voluble and contentious public debate in host countries, where they have been both welcomed as a source of educational funding and feared as spy outposts, neocolonial incursions, and obstructions to academic freedom. China in the World turns an anthropological lens on this most visible, ubiquitous, and controversial globalization project in an effort to provide fresh insight into China’s shifting place in the world.

In China in the World, I move the study of soft power policy into the classroom, offering an anthropological intervention into a subject that has been dominated by the methods and analyses of international relations and political science. I argue that concerns about Confucius Institutes reflect broader debates over globalization and modernity and ultimately about a changing global order. Examining the production of soft power policy in situ allows us to move beyond program intentions to see how Confucius Institutes are actually understood and experienced in day-to-day classroom interactions. By assessing the perspectives of participants and exploring the complex ways in which students, teachers, parents, and program administrators interpret the Confucius Institute curriculum, I highlight significant gaps between China’s soft power policy intentions and the effects of those policies in practice. This book provides new insight into how policy actually works, showing that it takes more than financial wherewithal and official resolve to turn cultural presence into power.


For further information: 

China in the World:

China in the World:


Table of Contents: 

Chapter 1. An Anthropology of International Relations

Chapter 2. The Culture of Cultures

Chapter 3. Coolness and Magic Bullets: Studying Chinese to Manage Risk and Constitute a Self

Chapter 4. Conjuring Commensurability and Particularity: Reconfiguring Local and Global

Chapter 5. Imagining the State: Constitutions and Conceptions of Government and Governance

Chapter 6. Rethinking “Free” Speech: Debates over Academic Independence

Chapter 7. The Sites and Struggles of Global Belonging