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Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities

A Reader

Susan Brownell (Editor), Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom (Editor), Thomas Laqueur (Foreword)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 474 pages
ISBN: 9780520221161
January 2002
$36.95, £29.00
The past two centuries have witnessed tremendous upheavals in every aspect of Chinese culture and society. At the level of everyday life, some of the most remarkable transformations have occurred in the realm of gender. Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities is a mix of illuminating historical and ethnographic studies of gender from the 1700s to the present.

The essays in this highly creative collection are organized in pairs that alternate in focus between femininity and masculinity, between subjects traditionally associated with feminism (such as family life) and those rarely considered from a gendered point of view (like banditry). The chapters provide a wealth of interesting detail on such varied topics as court cases involving widows and homosexuals; ideal spouses of early-twentieth-century radicals; changing images of prostitutes; the masculinity of qigong masters; sexuality in the era of reform; and the eroticization of minorities. While most of the essays were specifically written for this volume, a few are reprinted as a testament to their enduring value.

Exploring the central role of gender as an organizing principle of Chinese social life, Chinese Femininities/ Chinese Masculinities is an innovative reader that will spark new debate in a wide range of disciplines.
Thomas Laqueur
Introduction: Theorizing Femininities and Masculinities
Susan Brownell and Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom

Part I. Gender and the Law (Qing)
1. Femininity in Flux: Gendered Virtue and Social Conflict in the Mid-Qing Courtroom
Janet M. Theiss
2. Dangerous Males, Vulnerable Males, and Polluted Males: The Regulation of Masculinity in Qing Dynasty Law
Matthew H. Sommer

Part II. Ideals of Marriage and Family (Mid-Qing and Early Republican)
3. Grooming a Daughter for Marriage: Brides and Wives in the Mid–Qing Period
Susan Mann
4. "The Truths I Have Learned": Nationalism, Family Reform, and Male Identity in China’s New Culture Movement, 1916–1922
Susan L. Glosser

Part III. Gender in Literary Traditions (May Fourth to Reform Eras)
5. Invention and Intervention: The Making of a Female Tradition in Modern Chinese Literature
Lydia H. Liu
6. The Self Loving the Self: Men and Connoisseurship in Modern Chinese Literature
Wendy Larson

Part IV. Dangerous Women and Dangerous Men (Late Ming to Early Communist)
7. Modernizing Sex, Sexing Modernity: Prostitution in Early-Twentieth-Century Shanghai
Gail Hershatter
8. Approximations of Chinese Bandits: Perverse Rebels, Romantic Heroes, or Frustrated Bachelors?
David Ownby

Part V. The Gender of Rebels (Cultural Revolution)
9. Maoist Mappings of Gender: Reassessing the Red Guards
Emily Honig
10. "Little Brothers" in the Cultural Revolution: The Worker Rebels of Shanghai
Elizabeth J. Perry and Nara Dillon

Part VI. Blood, Qi, and the Gendered Body (Qing and Reform Era)
11. Blood, Body, and Gender: Medical Images of the Female Condition in China, 1600–1850
Charlotte Furth
12. Embodying Qi and Masculinities in Post-Mao China
Nancy N. Chen

Part VII. Shifting Contexts of Gender and Sexuality (Reform Era)
13. Past, Perfect or Imperfect: Changing Images of the Ideal Wife
Harriet Evans
14. Proper Men and Proper Women: Parental Affection in the Chinese Family
William Jankowiak
Part VIII. Gender, Sexuality, and Ethnicity (Reform Era)
15. Gender and Internal Orientalism in China
Louisa Schein
16. Tradition and the Gender of Civility
Ralph Litzinger

Afterword: Putting Gender at the Center
Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom and Susan Brownell
Susan Brownell is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. She is the author of Training the Body for China: Sports in the Moral Order of the People's Republic (1995). Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom is Associate Professor of History at Indiana University. He is the author of Student Protests in Twentieth-Century China: The View from Shanghai (1991) and coeditor of Popular Protest and Political Culture in China (1994).
“This is an extremely interesting and detailed collection [with] rich information regarding the numerous aspects of female and male representations in mainland China.”—Kuah-pearce Khun Eng China Perspectives
"The last thirty years have seen an astonishing growth in the field of gender studies for late-imperial and twentieth-century China. In this ingeniously orchestrated book, Brownell and Wasserstrom not only give us a careful bibliographic and analytical summary of that earlier work, but by assembling paired essays on matching male and female gender issues, written by an excellent roster of scholars, they have indicated the lines along which this field can expand fruitfully in the future."—Jonathan D. Spence, author of The Search for Modern China

"In Chinese Feminities/Chinese Masculinities we finally have a volume that scholars of the world outside China will ignore at their peril, so thoroughly will it shake prevailing assumptions about how sexuality and gender can be historically and culturally constituted. Scholars and teachers of history, anthropology, sociology, history of medicine and science, law, politics, literature, and psychiatry, among others, should prepare for the great impact this splendid book is sure to have."—Emily Martin, author of The Woman in the Body: A Cultural Analysis of Reproduction

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