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Gender, Women, and China

Andors, Phyllis. 1983. The Unfinished Revolution of Chinese Women. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Barlow, Tani E. 2004. The Question of Woman in Chinese Feminism. Durham: Duke University Press.

Please see “How Tani Barlow Answers The Question of Women in Chinese Feminism,” by Ellen Carol DuBois, Journal of Women’s History 20.1 (2008) 227-230 (no subscription necessary).

Brownell, Susan and Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom (edit). 2002. Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities: A Reader. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.

I highly recommend this book as it explores how Chinese femininities and Chinese masculinities were differently constructed and experienced by men and women from Ming and Qing until post-reform era. The essays are organized in pairs with alternating focus between masculinity and femininity in each historical period. It is a resourceful book. Susan Glosser’s essay on nationalism, family reform, and male identity in China’s New Culture Movement 1915-1923 is especially interesting as she examines the family reform debate among young male revolutionaries in 1920s and how the revolution affects their view of women’s emancipation and the idea of ideal spouse/family. — picnic

Gilmartin, Christina Kelley. 1995. Engendering the Chinese Revolution: Radical Women, Communist Politics, and Mass Movements in the 1920s. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.

This book rewrites the history of 1920’s Chinese revolution through the lens of gender politics. It vividly shows how the CCP formulate its gender politics that challenges traditional gender orders but preserve such orders in its own organization. - picnic

Honig, Emily and Gail Hershatter. 1988. Personal Voices: Chinese Women in the 1980′s. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

This book built up the base for future discussion of Chinese gender. They stated clearly that gender, instead of women, is the main concern of their book and gender is “one of several basic principles around which every society is organized” (1988:11). — picnic

Johnson, Kay Ann. 1983. Women, The Family, and Peasant Revolution in China. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Stacey, Judith. 1983. Patriarchy and Socialist Revolution in China. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Weinbaum,Alys Eve, Lynn M. Thomas, Priti Ramamurthy, Uta G. Poiger, Madeleine Yue Dong, and Tani E. Barlow (edit.). 2008. The Modern Girl Around the World: Consumption, Modernity, and Globalization. Durham: Duke University Press.

This book examines the emergence of “modern girl/woman” in the 1920s and 1930s as an international phenomenon, and not just a Western emulation. I think it provides an interesting perspective in looking at the construction of “modern Chinese woman” and situate it in a broader historical background and the worldly desire for consumption and modernity in that specific historical period. Madeleine Dong contributes an article about the image of Chinese “modern girl” in 1920s and 1930s’ Shanghai (she also touched on “modern man”). — picnic

Wolf, Margery. 1985. Revolution Postponed: Women In Contemporary China. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

The older scholarship in 1970s and 1980s holds historical perspective in examining Chinese patriarchy, tracing its periodical changes and exploring its enduring legacy and diversification in socialist and post-socialist China. But these authors assumed a binary opposition of men (as dominant) /women (as dominated), tradition and modernity, China and West (as the measure of progress) without scrutinizing the specific historical context in which the subjects were situated. And they mostly focus on state policy and political strategies, not much on women’s agencies. - Picnic

Yan, Hairong. 2008. New Masters, New Servants: Migration, Development, and Women Workers in China. Durham: Duke University Press.

4 comments on “Gender, Women, and China

  1. doriangray on said:

    I’d like to ask if there are any good books and essays on sexuality in the context of socialist and post-socialist China?

  2. doriangray on said:

    I think it is also important to think about the politics of gender in the context of Greater China, like Taiwan and Hong Kong, and Chinese diaspora. Chinese women in these regions have experienced (and indeed continue to experience) gendered modernity in rather different ways.

  3. doriangray on said:

    Pun Ngai’s _Made in China: Women Factory Workers in the Global Workplace_ (Duke UP) is an excellent source too!

  4. doriangray on said:

    Can anyone suggest sources in Chinese? e.g. the essays about gender and sexuality in _Dushu_. e.g. Dai Jinhua

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