This article demonstrates how educational film in interwar China served the dual purpose of mass recreation and political indoctrination. It places educational film in China in the context of Chinese tradition and the predominance of utilitarian scholarship. On the one hand, China has a long history of using mass-recreational tools in order to influence and control society. On the other hand, foreign educational films available in the early twentieth century were not attractive to Chinese audiences. Hence, the boundary between recreational and educational film at the time was ambivalent and the combination of recreation, education, and propaganda was reflected both in the phenomenon of showing educational films and in the contents of the films themselves.
Kaiyi Li is a doctoral candidate at the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research in Braunschweig, Germany. Her doctoral thesis focuses on transnational educational cooperation between the League of Nations and China during the interwar period. Email: email@example.com