Gender and Chinese History

Transformative Encounters

Edited by Beverly Bossler

  • Published: 2015. Paperback February 2017
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; History; Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 278 pp., 13 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

Until the 1980s, a common narrative about women in China had been one of victimization: women had dutifully endured a patriarchal civilization for thousands of years, living cloistered, uneducated lives separate from the larger social and cultural world, until they were liberated by political upheavals in the twentieth century. Rich scholarship on gender in China has since complicated the picture of women in Chinese society, revealing the roles women have played as active agents in their families, businesses, and artistic communities. The essays in this collection go further by assessing the ways in which the study of gender has changed our understanding of Chinese history and showing how the study of gender in China challenges our assumptions about China, the past, and gender itself.
Beverly Bossler is professor of history at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of is Courtesans, Concubines, and the Cult of Female Fidelity in China, 1000-1400 and Powerful Relations: Kinship, Status, and the State in Sung China (960-1279). Other contributors are Gail Hershatter, Emily Honig, Joan Judge, Guotong Li, Weijing Lu, Ann Waltner, Yan Wang, Ellen Widmer, and Yulian Wu.

"The quality of all these essays is very high, and this collection includes stars of the field who contribute essays that people in the China, gender, and history fields are going to want to read."
-Katherine Carlitz, author of The Rhetoric of "Chin p'ing mei"
Note on Terminology


Part One: Early Modern Evolutions
1. Les Noces Chinoises / Ann Waltner
2. The Control of Female Energies / Guotong Li
3. Collecting Masculinity / Yulian Wu
4. Writing Love / Weijing Lu

Part Two: "Cloistered Ladies" to New Women
5. "Media-Savvy" Gentlewomen of the 1870's and Beyond / Ellen Widmer
6. The Fate of the Late Imperial "Talented Woman" / Joan Judge
7. Moving to Shanghai / Yan Wang

Part Three: Radicalism and Ruptures
8. The Life of a Slogan / Emily Honig
9. Bad Transmission / Gail Hershatter

Glossary of Chinese Characters
List of Contributors

"This anthology sets a new benchmark for the creative and rigorous use of a broad range of sources to extend the scope of gender-focused enquiry in Chinese late imperial history. It will be read with benefit by students and scholars of comparative modernities, comparative gender issues, as well as Chinese social and political history."
-Anne E. McLaren, China Review International: A Journal of Reviews of Scholarly Literature in Chinese Studies

"This collection of groundbreaking essays delivers enough inspiration not only for expanding gender-related historic studies in new directions, but also for questioning some of the well-established assumptions within the academic field, as well as popular gender stereotypes."
-Justyna Jagu cik, Asiatische Studien/ Etudes Asiatiques