Foreign language textbooks not only aid language learners in developing their linguistic skills and knowledge but also reshape their cultural identities. Drawing on theories of critical curriculum studies, this paper examines cultural representation in two sets of US-produced Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) textbooks for American college learners at elementary and intermediate proficiency levels. Verbal and visual data comprising text and images were discursively examined with content analysis focusing on the distribution of cultural representations, the selection of cultural content, and the editorial strategies of inclusion and exclusion. Findings indicate that the textbooks skilfully employ eclectic approaches to addressing culturally controversial matters among various Chinese-speaking groups, such as Mainland Han Chinese, Taiwanese and ethnic minorities in China, in line with an overarching pan-Chinese cultural ideology. Implications are derived from the findings for CFL educators and teachers of other culturally contested foreign languages.
- Chinese as a foreign language
- cultural representation
- language textbooks
- pan-Chinese cultural ideology
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