Culture as Spectacle: Commodifying Confucius


Culture as Spectacle: Commodifying Confucius

Summer 2022 |Beijing, Jinan, Qufu and Qingdao, China

  • Program Fee: TBA



Trace the rise and fall (and restoration) of Confucianism in four cities tied to the philosopher’s life and legacy. Visit Beijing, home to the Imperial Confucian temple and Academy of Learning. Stop at Jinan, the capital city of the birth province of Confucius, and Qufu, where he made his home. Lastly, tour Qingdao, birthplace of the anti-Confucian, pro-revolution May Fourth Movement of 1915–1935.


Confucianism and Cultural Identity

Why has a seemingly outdated 2,000-year-old ideology made a comeback in 21st-century China? What is the relationship between Confucianism and capitalism? How do markets use Confucianism to create cultural spectacle and construct national identity?


Synthesize Academic and Experiential Learning

Visit locations where cultural spectacle and ancient ritual performances are marketed to consumers. Evaluate the role of Confucian ideology in Chinese cultural and political history, from imperialism to modernism to capitalism. Contrast Confucian thought as read in books with that presented in spectacles. Readings, discussions and lectures provide context; students complete a final research project.


Apply transferable skills—like interpretation and critical thinking—in a real-world context while completing an immersive experience for your Launch Plan. Past participants have launched careers in Shanghai, Beijing and Dubai. College graduates fluent in Chinese and English are prized hires in nearly any career field.