This chapter examines the pedagogical forms through which students who matriculate to art academies after years of highly technical test prep are taught to practice creativity and “find themselves.” It offers an ethnography of the discussion-based, “critique”-style “creativity classes” (chuangzaoke) that are a central part of university-level art and design curriculum. Building on the linguistic anthropology of pedagogy, this chapter describes how art students are taught to “entextualize” a style by narrating a self, performatively anchoring an aesthetic that is always drawn from the work of others in a unique and highly personal subjectivity. The chapter reflects on the political implications of this subjectivity and its forms of practice.
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