Wang Hongqi, ed.
Zhongguo nüxing zai duihua
Women in Dialogue).
This publication is
mainly a compilation of interviews that the author Wang Hongqi from the
The book also presents the
discussions of two different meetings of the Beijing Gender Reading
The transcriptions of
the interviews and the major parts of the Reading Group discussions are
presented to the reader in full length without any further introductory
concluding remarks. The only hints of Wang Hongqi’s
motivation for writing this
book are her introductory comments which express that this volume for
the fulfillment of a long sought after desire. Yet, she does not give
detailed explanation of her intentions nor on how she selected the
partners and the interview methods she used. Wang Hongqi’s
interviewing rather resembles casual conversation, as there did not
seem to be
a set procedure for interviewing. Nonetheless, the compilation is most valuable
for providing an access to
original voices in contemporary
book is divided into six chapters, each with two or three subdivisions:
In the first two parts of
the first chapter Wang Hongqi interviews
Zhang Kangkang, one of the leading writers in
In the third part of
the first chapter Wang Hongqi talks with Xu Kun, author, critic, and
the Department of Literature at the
In the first part of the second chapter Wang Hongqi interviews Yu Hong, a famous contemporary artist, also teaching at the Department of Oil Paintings at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (Zhongyang meishu xueyuan). On the one hand Yu Hong allows an insight into her private family life, and how she tries to find a balance between being a mother, wife, and professional artist. On the other hand their talk touches upon the uniqueness of her recent exhibition, in which her paintings that portray herself or members of her family at different stages of their lives, are matched with pictures depicting the social context of the time the painting was done. That way, Yu Hong intends to link private to public spheres and people’s private lives to society. This part includes a variety of Yu Hong’s paintings of her daughter, her marriage with Liu Xiaodong, and a self-portrait during pregnancy.
In the second part of the second chapter Zi Huajun, famous dancer, and Senior Research Fellow with the China Arts Research Academy (Zhongguo yishu yanjiuyuan), Department of Dance, speaks about her personal aims and motivations, and her mother’s integral role in her personal development. She discusses how in her earlier years she tried to fulfill her mother’s high expectations on her by pursuing an outstanding dancing career, and in her later years by her activities relating to women’s issues and politics, e.g. as member of the Political Consultative Conference. Photographs of her dancing and some private photos complement this part.
The third chapter
includes the discussions of a meeting of the Beijing Gender Reading
In the fourth chapter Wang Hongqi, Zhu Hong, Associated Researcher in the Department of Foreign Languages at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Professor at Boston University, and Li Ling, Associate Professor in the Department of Literature at the Capital Normal University in Beijing, engage in a comparison of Chinese and Western patriarchy. They start with a discussion of various traditional forms of patriarchy, and subsequently similarities between how Chinese and Western women writers deal with these societal structures through their texts. To them both Chinese and Western women use writing as a means to express their critical opinions about women’s place in a male-dominated society, e.g. Austen, Mansfield in the West and Zhang Kangkang, Xu Kun, Tie Ning in China. They also touch upon women’s exposure in the media, and Chinese women’s role as sexual and beauty commodities. Several paintings of naked women complement this chapter.
Chapter five includes
the discussions of another meeting of the Beijing Gender Reading Group
The sixth and last chapter refers to the “International Conference on the Indigenization of Teaching Women’s Studies – Asian Experiences,” October 18-21, 2002, held at the China Women’s College (Zhonghua nüzi xueyuan) in Beijing. The conference’s aim was to exchange ideas and practical experiences within the field of teaching women’s studies. Another major point of discussion presented in this chapter was the search for a balance between borrowings from foreign theories related to women and the application of locally developed theories. During the conference Wang Hongqi interviewed several of the attending experts from other Asian countries about their views on women’s issues in their countries. The chapter includes pictures of sculptures depicting couples and families.