LI Lin

Professor of Educational History


  • Department: Faculty of Education
  • Gender: male
  • Post: Full Professor
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B.A. (Guizhou Education College)


Visiting Study

Jan 2020-Feb 2020: Visiting research fellow at Graduate School of Literature and Human Sciences, Osaka City University, Japan.

May 2013-Jul. 2013: Junior visiting scholar at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. 

Oct. 2013-Feb. 2014: Departmental visitor at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University. 


2018-present: Deputy Chair of Department of Education, East China Normal University

2014-present: Lecturer, Associate Professor, Full Professor at Department of Education
                       Research Fellow at the Institute of Schooling Reform and Development
                       Research Fellow at the Center for Social and Emotional Skills
                       East China Normal University, Shanghai

2002-2004: Teacher for Chinese language, literature and history at Huaxi Middle School, Qianxi, Guizhou


The whole sense of the universe might be summed up the following words: what can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence.

Other Appointments

Deputy Secretary-general of China's History of Education Society

Deputy Editor-in-Chief for Journal of Schooling Studies

Corresponding Member of Editorial Board for History of Education

Reviewer for Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education

Research Fields

In the realms of teaching, research, and practice, my field of vision and thematic concerns are broadly as follows:

1. Study of Chinese Educational History and Culture

The history and culture of education are among the foundational areas at the core of the educational discipline. My research focuses on two pillars of educational history: educational systems and educational thoughts. Specifically, I attempt to concentrate on traditional examinations for talent selection and educational culture, exploring domestic and international archival materials and integrating perspectives and methods from literature, institutional studies, and biographical research. This ongoing effort advances a trilogy of studies on the examinations of the Qing Dynasty: in the liberal arts, military arts, and translation. Moreover, I primarily focus on Confucian core texts and their teaching philosophies, selecting key texts such as the Analects, Mencius, Xunzi, Book of Rites, Zhu Xi's Conversations, and the Record of Discussion on Learning, to interpret the educational philosophy and teaching wisdom contained within traditional educational classics. This includes reflecting on the rationale and pathways for the creative transformation and innovative development of excellent traditional culture. Furthermore, I pay attention to the cultural, everyday life, micro-historical and digital turns in global historiography, thereby expanding the study of the history of educational life. This approach examines the life, body, emotions, and related material culture within school education, aiming to develop new topics and realms for traditional educational research, thereby enriching the depth, breadth, and warmth of educational scholarship.

2. Explorations in Modern Politics and Socio-Cultural Studies

The global circulation of the early modern period profoundly changed and shaped the global layout and human life, continuing to this day. I attempt to place China, from the Ming and Qing dynasties onwards, within the global context and the East Asian world to ponder its problems, characteristics, and solutions. Specifically, beyond a traditional political history perspective that includes interest in the official system, administrative structure, and institutional documents, I pay special attention to the mobility of people, knowledge, ideas, goods, and diseases since the modern era and their impact. Therefore, beyond the examination system for selecting talent, I expand my thinking to include responses to solar and lunar eclipses in the Ming and Qing dynasties, involving astronomy, technology, religion, and political implications. I discuss the evolution and impact of blackboards and related teaching aids, as well as issues such as teacher's tuberculosis in modern schools and their countermeasures. We must acknowledge that the Earth is round, and the trend towards globalization is irreversible, but it must be understood and fowesaw appropriately. The Earth is also quite unique, but all of this is merely a moment in the vast expanse of time and space, not to be taken lightly or overly seized upon.

3. Curriculum, Teaching, and Schooling Improvement

What distinguishes humans from other species is that, in addition to reproduction and upbringing, humans have systematic education to pass on and renew the collective experience of life, thereby ensuring the continuity of tribes and the continuation of civilization. The importance of the basic education stage, both for individual lifelong growth and for the improvement of the educational system, is self-evident. I always attempt to understand, think about, and advance educational research and practice from a humanistic standpoint. Combining my early teacher education and training, experience teaching Chinese and history in middle schools, recent years as a researcher at the Institute for Schooling Reform and Development under China's Ministry of Education, and insights gained from visiting and learning from schools abroad, I provide consultation and guidance on curriculum and teaching, teacher professional development, educational research project design, and comprehensive school reform, promoting collaborative learning. The ultimate goal is to ground in rigorous academia to serve educational teaching and research practice; and within teaching and practice, to verify and deepen the academic research findings.

Although I am engaged in the teaching and research of Chinese history and culture, I always strive to sharpen my academic thoughts and insights within a multi-lingual, cross-cultural international and comparative perspective, seeking a convergence and balance between tradition and modernity, the East and West, and the theory and practice. Currently, I am able to conduct academic work comprehensively using Chinese, English, Japanese, and Manchu documents; I maintain curiosity and interest in expanding my learning of other languages, knowledge, and cultures. To learn with practice, there is endless joy within!

Enrollment and Training


Postgraduate Level

Selected Readings on the Educational Classics in Traditional China Required
The Essence of Chinese Traditional Culture 

Education in China: Tradition and Transformation (Elective; Instructed in English)

Dailylife History Studies (Elective)

Undergraduate Level

General History of Education in China (Required)

History of Chinese Educational Thoughts (Required)

History of Educational Management in China (Elective)

Understanding Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism in the Context of Chinese CultureElective)

The Spirit and Wisdom of Eminent Educators in ChinaElective

Selected Readings and Discussion of the Cunfucian Four Books Elective


Imperial Military Examinations in the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1901, funded by National Social Science Foundation of China (18FZS007). In progress.

Blackboard and the Transformation of School Education since the Modern Era: A Micro-global History Perspective, funded by Huo Yindong Young Scholar Foundation. In progress.

Gentry, Education and Social Changes: A Study of the Jinshi Academy and Relevant Jinshi Scholars in the Late Qing and Republican Era, funded by National Social Science Foundation of China (15FZS012). Completed.

Education, Revolution and Identity: A Study of the Qing Hanlin Academicians in Colonial Hong Kong, 1911-1941, funded by ECNU Overseas Publication Promotion Scheme for Humanities & Social Sciences . Completed.

Education in China: Tradition and Transformation, funded by The English-instructed Course Promotion Scheme at Faculty of Education, East China Normal University. Completed.

Academic Achievements

Monographs & Edited Volumes

*李林著:《凝视日常:生活史的研究理路及写作案例》(Seeing through the Quotidian),上海:华东师范大学出版社,2023年。

*李林著:《清代武科考试研究》(Imperial Military Examinations in the Qing Dynasty),北京:中华书局,2022年。

*LI Lin, Imperial Elites in Transformation: A Study of the Jinshi Academy and Relevant Jinshi Scholar-bureaucrats in Modern China(最后的天子门生——晚清进士馆及其进士群体研究),Beijing: The Commercial Press, 2017.[In Chinese]
*PUK Wing-kin and LI Lin eds., Civil Examination, Eight-legged Essay, and Social Transformation: Study of the Jinshi Scholars of 1886
科场·八股·世变——光绪十二年丙戌科进士群体研究, Hong Kong: Chung Hwa Book Co., 2015. [In Chinese]

Refereed Journal Articles


*LI Lin (2023), Teaching as Learning: Etymological Investigation, Canonical Analysis and Experiential Reflection in Chinese Cultural Context, ECNU Review of Education, online.

*Lin Li (2023) , Revisiting ‘blackboard’: Transformation of medium, space and pedagogy in school education, in Educational Philosophy and Theory, 55(7), pp. 773-786.


*李林:《有效教研:关键环节、意识与策略再思》,载《中国教育学刊》,2022年第11期,第33-37页 。


*LI Lin, 《天象与“天命”——明代太祖、成祖、英宗、世宗四朝交食应对论析》(Celestial Phenomena and the Heavenly Mandate: Analysis of Eclipse-responding during the Reigns of Emperor Taizu, Chengzu, Yingzong and Shizong in the Ming Dynasty),载《人文论丛》(Essays on Chinese Humanities), 第35卷(2021年第1辑)。

*LI Lin, 《提问与问题——<论语>所见孔门弟子发问探析》(Problematize the Problematic: Exploration to the Questions Raised by Confucius' Disciples in The Analects),载《全球教育展望》(Global Education),2021年第5期,第78-94页。

*LI Lin,《学校市:民国时期一种“学生自治”的实践及得失》(School city: the practice and effect of a kind of "student autonomy" during republican China),载《近代史研究》(Modern Chinese History Studies),2020年第3期,第149-159页。

*LI Lin (2020), Teaching beyond words: ‘silence’ and its pedagogical implications discoursed in the early classical texts of Confucianism, Daoism and Zen Buddhism, in Educational Philosophy and Theory, 52 (7), pp. 759-768.

Full Text: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/JEAPNKVS9MFWSWFM9MU6/full?target=10.1080/00131857.2019.1684896

*李林:《无信不立——<论语>所见“信”义内涵与启示》(No Standing without Being Trustworthy: Connotations and Implications of the Word "Xin" (信) in The Analects),载《哲学与文化》(Universitas: Monthly Review of Philosophy and Culture),第46卷第2期(20192月),第137-151页。

* LI Lin (2017), “Education, Culture, and Politics: The Evolution of Chinese Education at The University of Hong Kong, 1911-1941”, in History of EducationJournal of the History of Education Society, 46(6), pp. 711-729.
Full Text: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0046760X.2017.1360521

*LI Lin, Fraudulent Practices and Relevant Countermeasures in Imperial Military Examinations in the Qing Dynasty(清代武场防弊与舞弊问题述论), in Journal of Ancient China Studies, vol. 16 (Aug. 2017), pp. 158-171.[In Chinese]
*LI Lin
Rescuing the Sun and Rescuing the Country: Political and Cultural Implications of Reactions to the Solar Eclipse in 1901(“救日与救国——1901年辛丑日食的政治史及文化史意蕴), in Essays on Qing History, vol. 33 (May 2017), pp. 255-272. [In Chinese]
*LI, Lin, On the Recruitment Quota of Provincial Military Examinations and the Group Structure of Provincial Military Graduates in the Qing Dynasty
(清代武科乡试中额及武举人群体结构试探), in Historical Review, 2016(6), pp. 68-80. [In Chinese] 
*LI, Lin, “Supervision, Training and Examination for Military Licentiates in the Qing Dynasty”
清代武生的管理、训练与考, in Journal of Historical Science, 2015(12), pp. 50-60. [In Chinese]
*LI, Lin, “Consolidation with Innovation: A Study of the Manchu & Mongolian Language College in the Late Qing Dynasty”
(谋新与端本:清末满蒙文高等学堂考论), in Journal of Research on Education for Ethnic Minorities, 2015(6), pp. 59-67. [In Chinese]
*LI, Lin, “Promotion Quota, Group Population and Geographical Distribution of Military Licentiates in the Qing Dynasty”
(清代武生学额、人数及其地域分布), in Journal of East China Normal University (Educational Science), 2015(3), pp. 98-105. [In Chinese]
*LI, Lin, “The Historical Context and Meaning Origin of the Word of ‘Stereotyped Party Writing’”
党八股一词的时代语境及意涵源流辨析), in CPC History Studies, 2015(3), pp. 45-52. [In Chinese]
*LI, Lin, “Participation Qualifications and Candidate Categories for the Provincial Military Examinations in the Qing Dynasty”(
清代武科乡试应试资格及考生来源), in Historical Archives, 2015(3), pp. 76-80. [In Chinese]
*LI, Lin, “The Predicament and Opportunity in Transforming the Emperor’s Elite Students
A Study of the Jinshi Academy in the Late Qing Period”(晚清进士馆研究——天子门生的转型困境与契机), in Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies, Vol 44, no.1, pp.109-155.[In Chinese]
Full-text: http://thjcs.web.nthu.edu.tw/ezfiles/662/1662/img/2133/44.1-04.pdf

*LI, Lin, “From the Eight-legged Essay to the Critical Discourse on Western Learning: An Investigation of the Metropolitan Examinations in 1903 and 1904”(从经史八股到政艺策论——清末癸卯、甲辰科会试论析)in Journal of Chinese Studies, Vol.55(Jul. 2012), pp. 175-200. [In Chinese]
Full-text: http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/ics/journal/articles/v55p175.pdf

*LI, Lin, “Linking up the Neo-Confucianism and Civil Service Examination: A Confucian Scholar’s Proposal and Practice in Yuan Dynasty”(理学与举业贯一:元儒程端礼的理论与实践), in Essays on Civil Examination Studies, Vol.2 (2012), published by Xianzhuang Shuju(Beijing), pp. 41-51.[In Chinese]

Book Chapters
LI Lin, Examination and Meritocracy in China, in Michael Peters, ed., Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory, Springer, 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-532-7_715-1

Research Notes & Academic Review
李林整理:《最近二十年海外科举研究著作类目(1999-2018)》(Bibliography of Works on Chinese Imperial Examinations Published outside Mainland China during the Last Two Decades, 1999-2018),载复旦大学历史学系编:《覆水不收:科举停废百年再思》(上海:上海古籍出版社,2020年),第535-543页。

►LI Lin, An Overview of Overseas Research of Chinese History of Education during 2004 and 2016: Important Trends, Representative Scholars and Selected Bibliography(最近十余年海外中国教育史研究概览——重要动态、代表学者及著作类目(2004-2016), selections published in History of Education: Research and Review, vol. 4 (2017), pp. 397-420.
Full Text: https://pan.baidu.com/s/1mioXc2s

►LI Lin, Review on ‘Learning for One's Own Self: Education in Traditional China’(学以为己:传统中国的教育) by Thomas H. C. Lee, excerpts published in Jiefang Daily, 2 September 2017.
Full Texthttp://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/JiT1Trfrq_HmReNQWFYcnA

李林:《废除科举导致清朝灭亡?》(原题《科举考试与人才选拔》(Civil Examinations and Meritocracy in Imperial China),澎湃新闻“私家历史”栏目专访,全文链接:http://www.thepaper.cn/baidu.jsp?contid=1371061(2015-9-10)

►LI Lin, “Debate and Dilemma in the Narratives of Civilization and Colonization: A Discussion with Professor John E. Herman”( “开化殖民两套诠释话语的论争与困境——兼与John E. Herman教授商榷), in Bulletin of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Vol. 80(Jun. 2013), pp. 151-170. [In Chinese]
 Full Text: 

Academic Translation

From Manchu into Chinese & English
►LI Lin, Mavis Hing-yu FUNG, CHONG Man-lung, Loretta E. KIM, “Heritage in Translation: ‘A Dagur Story’ as Historical Fiction and Sample Text for Learning Manchu – Part One”inSAKSAHA: A Journal of Manchu Studies, Vol. 13(2015), pp. 63-73.

From Japanese into Chinese

►TSUCHIYA Hiroshi, Trans. LI Lin, The First Monograph on History of Chinese Education: A Study of Jiang Fu and His Materials on History of Chinese Education(〈中国教育史〉の誕生蒋黼〈中国教育史資料〉に関する一考察—), in Renmin University of China Education Journal, 2016(1): 158-172.‍‍‍