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GEC3406 Women in twentieth-Century China: A social history: Home

Course Description

What role have women played in the history of modern China? What is the relationship between women and men in China since the late Qing dynasty and how does that affect our interpretations of China’ long twentieth Century? This course examines modern and contemporary Chinese history through the lens of women and gender. The history of modern China was a political history written by reformers, revolutionists and left-wing intellectuals; a cultural history of booming publishing houses and education institutions; a social history of professionals, workers, beggars and refugees. While men were the leaders throughout, women were also an important part. Examining women in history of twentieth-century China is thus another perspective to view general political and social change as well as everyday life of ordinary people in Chinese society. The course will introduce students to historical periods central to women in different classes, area and marital status. The discussion of primary sources, such as newspapers, magazines, memoirs, photographs and posters will allow participants to gain familiarity with different kinds of primary sources including printed and oral, textual and visual, and with the theories and methodologies relevant to studying this history.

Recommended Books

Women and Gender in Twentieth-Century China

There are 8 chapters in this book. Topics examined include lives and roles of women in pre-twentieth-century China, women’s role in the early twentieth-century nationalist and revolutionary movement as activists, publicists and suffragists, discourses of the new woman from the 1910s to the 1930s, women’s issues as a central plank in political propaganda during the 1920s and 1930s, women’s contribution in the city and countryside before 1949, women’s role in the social and economic transformations as well as political movements in the 1950s and 1960s, and women’s role in the Post-Mao Era.

Women in the Chinese Enlightenment: Oral and Textual Histories

This book studies women in the May Fourth period, reconfiguring the history of the Chinese Enlightenment from a gender perspective and addressing the question how feminism engendered social change cross-culturally. Wang investigates the life stories of five Chinese women activists born in the initial decade of the twentieth century. They are Lu Lihua (born in 1900), a school principal; Zhu Su’e (born in 1901), an attorney; Wang Yiwei (born in 1905), an editor in chief; Chen Yongsheng (born in 1900), an educator; and Huang Dinghui (born in 1907), a career revolutionary. Their life stories constitute a portrait of women’s struggle towards national salvation and self-emancipation.

Recommended Databases