Kyushu University Academic Staff Educational and Research Activities Database
List of Papers
Edward Anthony Vickers Last modified date:2024.01.29

Professor / International and Comparative Education / Department of Education / Faculty of Human-Environment Studies

1. Edward Vickers Sicong Chen, The politics of education on China’s periphery: ‘Telling China’s Story Well’ – or honestly?, Comparative Education,, 60, 1, 2024.01, [URL], This article provides an overview of the politics of education as they affect regions and communities on the periphery of the People’s Republic of China. Drawing on the articles in this special issue of Comparative Education, it analyses tensions related to the attempted imposition of Bejing’s homogenising and totalising vision of Chineseness across Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and amongst the mainland’s migrant underclass. Also considered here are the politics of comparative educational scholarship, as they relate to a widespread failure to engage critically with the diversity and complexity of Chinese societies. Attributable largely to the West’s own ‘culture wars’, this failure betrays much-touted ethical commitments to social justice and anti-‘hegemonic’ resistance. It is thus a central purpose of this essay – and special issue – to urge educational scholars to interrogate the politics of oppression and injustice in China and elsewhere ‘beyond the Western horizon’..
2. Yan Fei Edward Vickers, Balancing unity and diversity? Shifting state policies and the curricular portrayal of China’s minority nationalities, Comparative Education,, 60, 1, 2024.01, [URL], This article analyses the implications of recent policy changes for the portrayal of minority nationalities in the latest China’s history textbooks published around 2017. We argue that ideological responses to the fierce ethnic clashes of the late 2000s and the leadership transition since 2012 have generated increasingly contradictory official discourses on the relationship between Chinese identity and cultural diversity, which are manifested in the textbooks. On the one hand, policies and textbooks still appear to endorse a multi-minzu, inclusive understanding of nationhood and Chinese history. On the other hand, an increasing emphasis on nationalist discourses celebrating the Han culture and achievements reinforces assimilationist narratives based on a monolithic and homogenising vision of Chinese nationhood. We argue that such tensions reflect conflicts over contradictory understandings of Chineseness that have intensified since 2008–2009, and that the increasing marginalisation in textbooks of non-Han groups may contribute to further exacerbating problems in the handling of inter-minzu relations..
3. Wan Yi Edward Vickers, Discipline and moralise: gratitude education for China’s migrant families, Comparative Education,, 2024.01, [URL], The problems China’s rural-born migrants face in accessing urban public services, including education, are widely known. This article analyses how official discourse attributes migrant children’s vulnerability to their ‘problematic family background’ while exhorting them to show ‘gratitude’ to a benevolent state. Combining documentary analysis and insights from fieldwork, we examine how ‘gratitude education’ seeks to inculcate notions of a moral hierarchy in which migrants are subordinate or inferior. We further investigate parental beliefs and practices with respect to gratitude, and family participation in related educational activities. The findings indicate that such activities constitute just one aspect of a broader strategy that extends to initiatives focused on governance and philanthropy. Programmes of gratitude education are one tactic for concealing the deficiencies in government action on rural migrants’ behalf. By associating entitlement to public goods with individual or familial propriety, they aim to legitimate the institutional barriers that ensure migrants’ enduring marginalisation..
4. Edward Vickers, The motherland’s suffocating embrace: schooling and public discourse on Hong Kong identity under the National Security Law, Comparative Education,, 60, 1, 2024.01, [URL], While ‘national education’ has regularly been invoked by post-1997 Hong Kong administrations, its pursuit has acquired new force and urgency since the introduction in 2020 of a National Security Law. Investigating the role of schooling in this reinvigorated project of thought reform, this article asks how far recent initiatives have merely amplified official identity discourse or marked a qualitative change. It does so primarily by analysing the official curriculum and textbooks for Citizenship and Social Development (CSD), introduced in 2022 to replace Liberal Studies, a subject widely blamed by nationalists for fomenting sedition. Following a comparative overview of the new and old curricula, there is a discussion of changes to the textbook treatment of: the historical framing of identity; the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ model; culture’s significance for Hong Kong’s place in China; and civil, legal and constitutional rights and duties. The analysis concludes with reflections on what these changes imply both for China’s efforts to re-educate its unruly Hong Kong subjects, and for scholarly efforts to understand and explain such processes..
5. Edward Vickers, Rebranding Gandhi for the 21st century: science, ideology and politics at UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGIEP), Compare: A Journal of Comparative Education,, 2024.01, [URL], This paper analyses the development of UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute on Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), examining its record from global, national and institutional perspectives. The global perspective encompasses challenges to UNESCO’s attempts to articulate a distinctive, humanistic vision in competition with other multilateral bodies. The national perspective relates to India, which hosts MGIEP, provides the bulk of its funding and exerts significant influence over its governance. Consideration is also given to the relationship between MGIEP’s work and Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas. Finally, the institutional perspective relates both to the author’s own experience with MGIEP, and to information gained through interviews with others involved with the institute. It is argued that MGIEP’s story illuminates challenges to attempts, within India and internationally, to sustain a humanistic vision of education in the face of powerful countervailing interests..
6. Yoko Mochizuki Edward Vickers Audrey Bryan, Huxleyan utopia or Huxleyan dystopia? 'Scientific humanism', Faure's legacy and the ascendancy of neuroliberalism in education, International Review of Education,, 68, 5, 709-730, 2022.11, [URL], In addition to the longstanding threat posed by narrow economism, faith in the possibility of peace and progress through democratic politics – central to the humanistic vision of the 1972 Faure report – today faces additional challenges. These challenges include the ascendancy of neurocentrism in the global policyscape. Whereas the effects of neoliberalism on education have been extensively critiqued, the implications of a newer, related ideological framework known as neuroliberalism remain under-theorised. Neuroliberalism combines neoliberal ideas concerning the role of markets in addressing social problems with beliefs about human nature ostensibly grounded in the behavioural, psychological and neurological sciences. This article critically examines a recent initiative of one of UNESCO’s Category 1 Institutes – the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) – that seeks to mainstream neuroscience and digital technology within global educational policy. Comparing the visions of the 1972 Faure, the 1996 Delors and the 2021 Futures of Education reports with MGIEP’s International Science and Evidence Based Education Assessment (ISEEA), the authors analyse continuity and change in UNESCO’s attempts to articulate a vision of “scientific humanism” which advocates the use of science for the betterment of humanity. They argue that ISEEA’s overall recommendations – as represented in its Summary for Decision Makers (SDM) – reinforce a reductive, depoliticised vision of education which threatens to exacerbate educational inequality while enhancing the profits and power of Big Tech. These recommendations exemplify a neuroliberal turn in global education policy discourse, marking a stark departure from the central focus on ethics and democratic politics characteristic of UNESCO’s landmark education reports. Reanimating, in cruder form, visions of a scientifically-organised utopia of the kind that attracted UNESCO’s inaugural Director-General, Julian Huxley, ISEEA’s recommendations actually point towards the sort of dystopian “brave new world” of which his brother, Aldous Huxley, warned..
7. Edward Vickers Paul Morris, Accelerating Hong Kong’s reeducation: ‘mainlandisation’, securitisation and the 2020 National Security Law, Comparative Education,, 58, 2, 187-205, 2024.01, Whilst Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 has influenced education in various ways, major reforms perceived as promoting mainland control have been resisted. For two decades, Hong Kong’s educational autonomy under the ‘one country, two systems’ formula was thus largely maintained. This changed radically with the response to the protests of 2019–2020, culminating in the introduction of a National Security Law. This has drastically constrained Hong Kong’s civil society, enhanced central government control of education and accelerated efforts to reeducate Hongkongers as loyal PRC citizens. We trace how this transformation has been enacted and justified, and reflect on its consequences. We analyse the current situation through the lenses of ‘internal colonialism’ and securitisation, which have characterised governance of China’s restive periphery under Xi Jinping. We argue that analytical perspectives in Comparative Education, relating to postcolonialism/decolonisation and globalisation, obstruct or distort understanding of Hong Kong’s present predicament..
8. Wan Yi Edward Vickers, Towards Meritocratic Apartheid? Points Systems and Migrant Access to China's Urban Public Schools, The China Quarterly,, 249, 210-238, 2022.03, This paper analyses rural migrant children's access to public schools in urban China, focusing on the implications of the recent introduction of points systems for apportioning school places. This approach, first piloted by Zhongshan city in Guangdong province from 2009, has steadily been extended nationwide. Here, we analyse the reasons for its spread and for divergence in its implementation in various urban districts. Notwithstanding rhetorical claims that points systems promote “fairness” or “equality” in the treatment of migrants, our analysis suggests that they maintain or even exacerbate the stratification of urban society, lending new legitimation to the hierarchical differentiation of entitlements. This is consistent with the aim of the 2014 “New national urbanization plan” to divert urban growth from megacities towards smaller cities. However, we argue that the use of points systems should also be seen in the context of an evolving bureaucratic-ideological project aimed at more rigorously monitoring and assessing China's entire population, invoking the logic of meritocracy for the purpose of control..
9. Edward Vickers, Towards national socialism with Chinese characteristics? Schooling and nationalism in contemporary China, World Yearbook of Education 2022, DOI:10.4324/9781003137801-5, 46-65, 2022.01.
10. Edward Vickers, Smothering Diversity: Patriotism in China's School Curriculum under Xi Jinping, Journal of Genocide Research, 2023.06, [URL], No abstract.
11. Miki Dezaki, Mark Frost and Edward Vickers, Debating Shusenjo - the Main Battlefield of the Comfort Women Issue: Director Miki Dezaki in conversation with Mark R. Frost and Edward Vickers, March 1, 2021 Volume 19 | Issue 5 | Number 11 , Article ID 5554, 2021.03, [URL], This Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus special issue on “The Comfort Women as Public History” concludes with documentary filmmaker Miki Dezaki in conversation with Edward Vickers and Mark R. Frost. Dezaki’s film Shusenjo, released in 2018, examines the controversy over “comfort women” within Japan, as well as its implications for Korea-Japan relations. Dezaki, himself Japanese-American, also devotes considerable attention to the growing ramifications of this controversy within the United States, as an instance of the increasing international significance of the comfort women issue. In this discussion, he, Frost and Vickers reflect on the messages of the film, the experience of making and distributing it, and what this reveals about the difficulty - and importance - of doing public history in a manner that respects the complexity of the past..
12. Su Zhiliang and Edward Vickers (translator), Reconstructing the History of the “Comfort Women” System: The Fruits of 28 years of Investigation into the “Comfort Women” Issue in China, Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, March 1, 2021 Volume 19 | Issue 5 | Number 7, Article ID 5548, 2021.03, [URL], Since 1991, scholars from all over Asia have sought to reconstruct the history of the Japanese military’s “comfort women” – that is, to recover the facts relating to this system of sexual slavery – by analysing documentary records and interviewing survivors. As a result, an international consensus has emerged concerning the status of this system as a wartime atrocity involving large-scale violation of human rights, for which Japan ought to apologize. However, within Japan many persist in denying responsibility for the invasion [of China and associated atrocities]. Therefore, no effort should be spared to pass on the memory of this history to future generations, through discussing this atrocity of sexual slavery in school textbooks, applying for a [UNESCO] Memory of the World inscription, producing documentary films, or building museums, memorials and so forth. Other Asian countries thus continue their intense disputes with Japan over the nature and scale of the comfort women system, and the appropriate terminology for describing it.
13. Edward Vickers, Slaves to rival nationalisms: UNESCO and the politics of ‘comfort women’ commemoration, Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, March 1, 2021 Volume 19 | Issue 5 | Number 5, Article ID 5546, 2021.03, [URL], In October 2017, the application to list the Voices of the Comfort Women archive on UNESCO’s “Memory of the World Register” was rejected (or “postponed”). In this paper, I set that decision in the context of other recent instances of “heritage diplomacy” in East Asia, highlighting the tensions between nationalistic agendas and UNESCO’s universalist pretensions. I then discuss the nature and extent of similar tensions in the framing of the “comfort women” issue, as manifested in “comfort women museums” (institutions closely associated with the preparation of the 2016-17 Memory of the World application). I focus especially on the case of China, where the Xi Jinping regime first sought to weaponize this issue against Japan, only to pull back in 2018 as Sino-Japanese ties warmed. I conclude by considering how the story of the comfort women might be reframed to underline its global significance (or “outstanding universal value”), in a manner that makes it more difficult for Japanese nationalists to portray the campaign for recognition and commemoration as an anti-Japan conspiracy..
14. Edward Vickers and Mark Frost, Introduction: The “Comfort Women” as Public History - Scholarship, Advocacy and the Commemorative Impulse, Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, March 1, 2021 Volume 19 | Issue 5 | Number 3, Article ID 5555, 2021.03, [URL], In this introductory essay to the special issue of The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus on “The Comfort Women as Public History,” we analyze the turn since the early 2000s towards “heritagization” of this controversial issue. After reviewing the political, cultural and historiographical background to ongoing disputes over “comfort women,” we examine how the reframing of this issue as “heritage” has been accompanied by increasing entanglement with the global politics of atrocity commemoration, and associated tropes. Prominent among such tropes is the claim that commemoration fosters “peace”. However, following recent critical scholarship on this issue, and drawing on the papers that comprise this special issue, we question any necessary equation between heritagization and reconciliation. When done badly, the drive to commemorate a contentious issue as public history can exacerbate rather than resolve division and hatred. We therefore emphasise the need for representation of comfort women as public history to pay due regard to nuance and complexity, for example regarding the depiction of victims versus perpetrators; the transnational dimension of the system; and its relationship with the broader history of gender politics and the sexual subjugation of women..
15. Edward Vickers, Comparative Education in Asia: Inaugurating the APJE-CESA Affiliation, Asia-Pacific Journal of Education,, 37, 3, 279-282, 2018.01, [URL].
16. Edward Vickers, All Quiet on the Eastern Front? Populism, Nationalism and Democracy in East Asia, The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, doi:10.1353/gia.2017.0021, 18, 2, 59-68, 2017.06, [URL], Contrary to the prevailing narrative of East Asian immunity to the recent surge of anti-establishment, populist politics across the West, Vickers argues that features of populist nationalism are already ingrained in the established order across much of East Asia. Examining China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, he finds that many of the forces now challenging the status quo in Europe and the United States are part of the East Asian political mainstream..
17. Edward Vickers, Paul Morris, Schooling, Politics and the Construction of Identity in Hong Kong: the “Moral and National Education” Crisis in Historical Context, Comparative Education, 51, 3, 305-326, 2015.06, Since Hong Kong's retrocession, the government has endeavoured to strengthen local citizens' identification with the People's Republic of China – a project that acquired new impetus with the 2010 decision to introduce ‘Moral and National Education’ (MNE) as a compulsory school subject. In the face of strong local opposition, this policy was withdrawn in 2012, and implementation of MNE made optional. This article seeks to elucidate the background to the MNE controversy of 2012 by locating the emergence of a distinctive Hong Kong identity in its historical context, and analysing successive official attempts (before and after the 1997 retrocession) to use schooling for purposes of political socialisation. We argue that the school curriculum has projected and reflected a dual sense of identity: a ‘Chineseness’ located mainly in ethno-cultural qualities, and a ‘Hongkongeseness’ rooted in civic attributes. While reinforced by schooling, local civic consciousness has been intimately related to a tradition of public activism strongly evident since the 1970s, and further strengthened post-1997..
18. Edward Vickers, Yang Biao, Shanghai's History Curriculum Reforms and Shifting Textbook Portrayals of Japan, French Centre for Research on Contemporary China, 2013/4, 33-43, 2013.12, [URL], This article examines the coverage of Japan in Shanghai's senior high history textbooks since the early 1990s – a period when the city's status as China's“showpiece for the global era”has been widely touted. Uniquely among cities on the Chinese mainland, Shanghai has throughout this period enjoyed the right to publish and prescribe its own textbooks for use in local schools (a right extended to most other regions only since the early 2000s). The portrayal of Japan in local texts thus offers a window onto the way in which a self-avowedly “global” Chinese metropolis has balanced an outward-looking and internationalist vision with the requirement for history to serve patriotic education. It also sheds light on the meaning and extent of local curricular “autonomy” in contemporary China..
19. Edward Vickers, Editorial: Chinese Visions of Japan - official narratives of a troubled relationship, The French Centre for Research on Contemporary China, 2013/4, 3-5, 2013.12, [URL].
20. Edward Anthony Vickers, Transcending Victimhood: Japan in the public historical museums of Taiwan and the People's Republic of China, French Centre for Research on Contemporary China, 2013/4, 19-32, 2013.12, [URL], This article looks at how the major national (or pseudo-national) historical museums in China and Taiwan interpret and display very different “new rememberings” of Japan. The main focus is on the permanent exhibitions of the modern history wing of the National Museum of China (NMC; formerly the Museum of the Chinese Revolution), which finally reopened in 2011 after almost a decade of refurbishment, and of the National Museum of Taiwan History (NMTH), which opened in the same year. It discusses how museum portrayals of Japan reflect divergent public discourses on national identity. Through examining the relationship between museums and the apparatus of the Chinese state (ROC and PRC), the first section locates the NMC and NMTH in their bureaucratic and political contexts. A typology of approaches to the construction of national identity is then offered, considering the implications of different conceptions of identity for portrayals of Japan and its relationship with China or Taiwan. The remainder of the article looks in turn at the NMC and NMTH, outlining the history of each before examining how Japan is represented in their permanent exhibitions. It concludes by considering what can be learnt from this about the evolving relationship between official historical discourse and the broader political context on both sides of the Taiwan Strait..
21. Edward Vickers, History, Identity and the Politics of Taiwan's Museums: reflections on the DPP-KMT transition No. 3, 92-106., China Perspectives, 3, 96-106, 2010.09, Museums in Taiwan—as elsewhere—have always been embroiled in politicised debates over collective identity, both reflecting and helping to shape the contours of identity discourse. During the four decades of the Martial Law era, the Kuomintang (KMT) regime used museums as vehicles for its campaigns to nurture patriotic citizens of a “Republic of China” encompassing the entire Chinese mainland. However, with the onset of democratisation from the late 1980s, museums increasingly reflected and reinforced a strengthening consensus over Taiwan’s historical and cultural distinctiveness, while also mirroring the considerable pluralism of popular identity consciousness. This trend was accentuated under the regime of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after 2000, but 2008 witnessed the return to power of a KMT determined to establish warmer ties with China. This paper examines the extent to which the new regime’s more accommodative approach to China has extended into the realm of museums, while considering whether developments within the sector, and within broader Taiwanese society, mean that museums are no longer quite the pliable tools of official cultural policy that they once were..