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Women in China: the Republican Period in Historical Perspective, Mechthild Leutner and Nicola Spakowski (eds.), 2007



Hsiung Ping-chen
"Seeing Neither the Past Nor the Future: The Trouble of Positioning Women in Modern China"
Yeh Wen-hsin
"The Paradox of Autonomy: Nation, Revolution, and Women through the Chinese Looking Glass"
Mechthild Leutner
"Women's, Gender and Mainstream Studies on Republican China: Problems in Theory and Research"


Gotelind Muller
"Knowledge is Easy -- Action is Difficult: The Case of Chinese Anarchist Discourse on Women and Gender Relations and Its Practical Limitations"
Louise Edwards
"Opposition to Women's Suffrage in China: Confronting Modernity in Governance"
Nicola Spakowski
"Women's Military Participation in the Communist Movement of the 1930s and 1940s: Patterns of Inclusion and Exclusion"
Helen Praeger Young
"Threads from Long March Stories: The Political, Economic and Social Experiences of Women Soldiers"


Sabine Hieronymus
"Qiu Jin (1875-1907) -- A Heroine for All Seasons"
Natascha Vittinghoff
"Jiang Qing and Nora: Drama and Politics in the Republican Period"


Maria Jaschok, Shui Jingjun
"Gender, Religion and Little Traditions: Henanese Women Singing Minguo"
Jens Damm
"Contemporary Discourses on Homosexuality in Republican China: A Critical Analysis of Terminology and Current Research"


Tani E. Barlow
"Wanting Some: Commodity Desire and the Eugenic Modern Girl"
Bryna Goodman
"Unvirtuous Exchanges: Women and the Corruptions of the Shanghai Stock Market in the Early Republican Era"
Zang Jian
" 'Women Returning Home' -- A Topic of Chinese Women's Liberation" Du Fangqin
"Women and Gender in the Rural Modernization Movement: A Case Study of Ding County (1912-37)"
Christina K. Gilmartin, Isabel Crook
"Marriage Reform, Rural Women and the Chinese State during World War II"


Harriet T. Zurndorfer
"Gender, Higher Education, and the 'New Woman': The Experiences of Female Graduates in Republican China"
Yu Chien-ming
"Female Physical Education and the Media in Modern China"

Nan Nü: Men, Women and Gender in China

For those who wish to see the contents of past issues, the publisher provides via a free website this information: http://www.brill.nl/ejournals/ejournals.html; pick the "N" and one will find the NAN NÜ site. Copies of the newest issue, along with subscription forms (including a discount) will be available at the Brill booth of the AAS book exhibition in New York.

Those interested in subscribing to Nan Nü, please contact the publisher's website at www.brill.nl or Harriet Zurndorfer at h.zurndorfer@wolmail.nl

Volume 6 no. 1 is a special theme issue, entitled 'BEYOND TRADITION AND MODERNITY: GENDER, GENRE, AND COSMOPOLITANISM IN LATE QING CHINA', edited by Grace S. Fong, Nanxiu Qian, Harriet Zurndorfer, and features the following articles:

Susan L. Mann 'Introduction'

Grace S. Fong 'Alternative Modernities, or a Classical Woman of Modern China: The Challenging Trajectory of Lü Bicheng's (1883-1943) Life and Song Lyrics'

Nanxiu Qian 'Borrowing Foreign Mirrors and Candles to Illuminate Chinese Civilization': Xue Shaohui's Moral Vision in the Biographies of Foreign Women'

Joan Judge 'Blended Wish Images: Chinese and Western Exemplary Women at the Turn of the Twentieth Century'

Ellen Widmer 'Inflecting Gender: Zhan Kai/Siqi Zhai's "New Novels" and Courtesan Sketches'


The Legend of Miaoshan Glen Dudbridge. Oxford Oriental Monographs, 2004.

Read a Review by Carolyn Ford

Book coverIn Chinese legend, the princess Miaoshan defied her father by refusing to marry, and pursued her austere religious vocation to the death, but returned to life to be his saviour and the saviour of all mankind. The story is inseparable from the female bodhisattva Guanyin, whose cult dominated religious life at all levels in traditional China and is still powerful in rural China today. Miaoshan herself became a lasting symbol of the tension in women's lives between individual spiritual fulfilment and the imperatives of family duty. The previous edition of this book was the first full monograph on the subject. It deals with the story's background, early history, and more developed later versions, bringing much of this material to the attention of modern readers for the first time. It analyses the basic sources, many of them in Buddhist scripture, and the overall pattern of development. It finally offers a range of interpretations which discover here myths of religious celibacy, of filial piety, and of ritual salvation of the dead. The legend of Miaoshan spans the uncertain boundaries between Chinese popular literature, theatre, and religion, and this book directly addresses students of those fields. But it holds a larger significance for those interested in the position of women in traditional society, and students of comparative literature and folklore will find here a version of the 'King Lear' story. This new edition takes account of epigraphical evidence, discovered and accessed since the time of first publication, which enriches and refines the discussion. This and other additional evidence, introduced for the sake of a more complete picture, leave the argument and conclusions of the original study still essentially intact.

Carnival in China: A Reading of the Xingshi yinyuan zhuan. Daria Berg. E. J. Brill, 2002.

As if under the satirical magnifying glass, the Xingshi yinyuan zhuan, an anonymous traditional Chinese novel, portrays local society and provincial life in seventeenth-century China in comic and grotesque close-up. A dystopian satire, the novel provides fascinating insights into the popular culture and imagination of men and women in late imperial China. Part One, 'Curing the World: Images of the Healer', investigates the topsy-turvy world of physicians, bell doctors, the clergy, and lay healers. Part Two, 'Governing the World: Representations of the Elite', looks at representations of students, teachers, scholar-cum-merchants, patrons of scholarship and scholar-officials. Part Three, 'Saving the World: Visions of the Great Mother', explores the image of the reformer, saint and saviour. Using an array of sources-- fiction, poetry, texts on medical ethics, religious thought, political and philosophical treatises, morality books and local gazetteers-- Carnival in China develops a style of reading that explores how seventeenth-century Chinese citizens perceived their world. Through their eyes, we gain access to their desires, dreams, fears and nightmares. This book will be useful to anyone interested in Chinese literature, history, popular religion, medical ethics, education, local government, women and gender.


Images of Women in Chinese Thought and Culture: Writings from the Pre-Qin Period to the Song Dynasty. Robin Wang (ed.). Hackett Publishing Company, March 2003.

This rich collection of writings--many translated especially for this volume and some available in English for the first time--traces the Chinese understanding of women as discussed in texts spanning more than two thousand years, from the pre-Qin period through the Song dynasty. Works in a variety of genres focus on women in terms of such topics as human nature, gender, virtue, cosmology, and social roles. The general Introduction identifies the patterns that emerge and briefly discusses the cultural background of the selections. A short headnote introduces each work.


Beijing Women Organizing for Change: A New Wave of the Chinese Women's Movement. Cecilia Milwertz. NIAS Press, 2002.

Beijing Women Organizing for Change coverIndependent and quasi-independent organizing in China really began earliest in the women's community but the importance of this 15-year experience has not been documented adequately. The book first introduces the emergence since the mid-1980s of new types of women's organization in China from the earlier situation of the All-China Women's Federation 'monopoly'. It then focuses on selected organizations and networks (such as the Women's Research Institute and the Jinglun Family Centre) and for the first time provides detailed descriptions of their history, organizational structure and work. The book concludes by discussing these organizations' representation of gender interests and the role they play in the establishment of civil society. The stories to be told in this study - profoundly moving stories of commitment, frustration and creativity - have implications for civil society theory. They will also provide a wonderfully grounding empirical study for those in the women's movement who have sometimes strayed far from the practical results to which theories are supposed to lead.


Chinese Women and Rural Development: Sixty Years of Change in Lu Village, Yunnan. Laurel Bossen. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002.

Rich in historical perspective on women and men in the context of economic development, this ethnography provides a unique window on rural China since the 1930s. Laurel Bossen uses her detailed knowledge to explore theories regarding such momentous changes as the demise of footbinding, the transformation and feminization of farming, the rise of family planning, and the question of missing daughters.

Based on anthropological research conducted during the 1990s in Lu Village and informed by the classic 1930s study of the same village by Fei Xiaotong, China's most famous anthropologist, Chinese Women and Rural Development goes beyond the enduring myths and cardboard images of women as either victims or heroes. Highlighting women's work in a complex farming economy and their choices in marriage and family, the book portrays individuals confronting a variety of changes, ranging from drastic to gradual, in their daily lives. Bossen examines the economic, social, and political practices both upholding and altering the boundaries of gender in the face of shifting state and market forces over time. Throughout, Lu Village women defy stereotypes, yet their stories, rooted in the reality of Yunnan province, express the commonalities and continuities of gender in rural China.


Halber Himmel, Ganzer Herd: Die Wiederbelebung der Weiblichkeit. Eine Analyse des Diskurses über "Frauenliteratur" im post-maoistischen China.". Irmy Schweiger. Heidelberg: Wunderborn, 2001.

A book, written in German, dealing with the construction of "women" and "women's literature" in the literary criticism of the 1980s in the People's Republic of China.


Chinese Women Organizing. Cadres, feminists, muslims, queers. Edited by Ping-Chun Hsiung, Maria Jaschok and Cecilia Milwertz, with Red Chan. Oxford: Berg, 2001.

Intersections Review of Chinese Women Organizing

Chinese Women OrganizingSynopsis: In the process of helping women to help themselves, female activists have assumed a decisive role in negotiating social and political transformations in Chinese society. This is the first book that describes and analyses the new phase of women's organizing in China, which started in the 1980s, and remains a vital force to the present day. The political and social changes taking place in contemporary Chinese society have, surprisingly, received scant attention. This volume hopes to add to our understanding of the working of grassroots democracy in China by exploring women's popular organizing activities and their interaction with party-state institutions, By subjecting these activities to both empirical inquiry and theoretical scrutiny, a rigorous analysis of the exchange, dialogue, negotiation and transformation among and within three groups of political actors - popular women's groups, religious groups and the All China Women's Federation - is concisely presented to the reader.

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