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20/May/2021 (Hardcover)
6.0 x 8.5 (Hardcover)

Gender History in China

by KOHAMA Masako, Linda Grove
How have femininity and masculinity been defined and understood in China from prehistoric times to the present day? Gender History in China presents for the first time in English the work of leading Japanese scholars in the fields of archaeology, history, literature, sociology and law who examine the gender dynamics...

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How have femininity and masculinity been defined and understood in China from prehistoric times to the present day?

Gender History in China presents for the first time in English the work of leading Japanese scholars in the fields of archaeology, history, literature, sociology and law who examine the gender dynamics that have shaped and changed Chinese society over several thousand years. The eighteen chapters and six columns look at the ways gender norms and customary legal practices shaped the family, kinship, and the social order, and how those norms were reflected in work patterns, inheritance, daily life, and literary works. Attention is given to the fundamental principle of qi (material essence) as a building block in cosmology, as well as in legal understandings of family relations. The second part of the volume turns to the dramatic changes in gender patterns from the late nineteenth century, looking at the inflow of new ideas, the struggle for political rights and economic equality, and the institution of new gender norms in socialist and reform-era China. The authors take up such topics as the view of the body in relation to Chinese cosmology, the incorporation of the military man into China’s model of hegemonic masculinity, the household registration system as a means of control, the appraisal of “talented women”, and the intersection of gender norms and nationalism. Gender History in China enriches our understanding of Chinese history and of contemporary Chinese society.

About Editors and Authors

KOHAMA Masako (Editor, Preface, Chapter 13)
Professor, College of Humanities and Sciences, Nihon University

SHIMOKURA Wataru (Phase I Introduction, Chapter 2)
Professor, Faculty of Letters, Tohoku Gakuin University

UCHIDA Junko (Chapter 1)
Associate Research Fellow, Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica

SATAKE Yasuko (Chapter 3)
Professor Emerita, Tohoku University

WONG Yu Hsuan (Chapter 4)
Associate Professor, Department of History, Tung Hai University

ARAKAWA Masaharu (Column 1)
Professor Emeritus, Osaka University

KANEKO Shuichi (Column 2)
Professor Emeritus, Kokugakuin University; Professor Emeritus, University of Yamanashi

SASAKI Megumi (Phase II Introduction, Focal Point, Chapter 6)
Professor, Faculty of Law and Literature, Shimane University

ŌSAWA Masaaki (Chapter 5)
Professor Emeritus, Sophia University; Research Fellow, Toyo Bunko

GOMI Tomoko (Chapter 7)
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Liberal Arts, University of the Sacred Heart

KISHIMOTO Mio (Chapter 8)
Professor Emerita, Ochanomizu University

OGAWA Yoshiyuki (Column 3)
Professor, College of Literature, Kokushikan University

TAKASHIMA Kō (Phase III Introduction, Chapter 10)
Professor, Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University

SAKAMOTO Hiroko (Chapter 9)
Professor Emerita, Hitotsubashi University

EGAMI Sachiko (Chapter 11)
Professor Emerita, Ferris University

Linda GROVE (Editor, Chapter 12)
Professor Emerita, Sophia University

OHASHI Fumie (Chapter 14)
Associate Professor, Institute for Gender Studies, Ochanomizu University

SUDŌ Mizuyo (Column 4)
Associate Professor, Faculty of International Relations, Kyoto Sangyo University

WASHIO Yūko (Chapter 15)
Part-time Teacher, College of Letters, Ritsumeikan University

ITAHASHI Akiko (Chapter 16)
Assistant Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo

YAO Yi (Chapter 17)
Part-time Teacher, University of Tokyo

AKIYAMA Yōko (Chapter 18)
Professor, Surugadai University

TŌYAMA Hideya (Column 5)
Visiting Researcher, BKC Research Organization of Social Science, Ritsumeikan University

NAKAYAMA Fumi (Column 6)
Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, Kobe Gakuin University

Table of contents




Preface: Gender Order in Chinese History




Phase I: Pre-Qin to Sui-Tang: Classical China – The Formation of Patrilineal Society


  1. Gender Structure in Pre-Qin China from an Archaeological Perspective
  2. The Patrilinealization of Society
  3. Literature and Women in China
  4. The Family in the Tang Period

Column 1: Introduction of Historical Materials: Wives’ Divorce and Daughters’

Inheritance of Property, Seen in Dunhuang Documents

Column 2: Empress Wu Zetian and Thereafter


Phase II: Song to Ming-Qing: Traditional China – The Strengthening of Gender Norms


  1. Livelihood and Gender in the Tang and Song Dynasties

Focal Point: An Overview of Shiga Shūzō’s Principles of Chinese Family Law

  1. Traditional Family Ideology and the Chen-Zhu School
  2. Marriage and ‘Chastity’: Structure and Change
  3. The Sense of Social Status and Gender

Column 3: Court Ladies and Gender


Phase III: Modern and Contemporary China – Changing Gender Order


  1. Nationalism and Gender
  2. Masculinity in Modern China
  3. Discourses on the Family, Love and Sex in Modern China
  4. Women’s Labor in Modern and Contemporary China
  5. The Founding of the People’s Republic of China and the Transformation of Gender Order
  6. Rearrangement of Gender Order in Post-Mao China: Changing Networks of Women’s Federations

Column 4: Two Histories of Women in Modern China



  1. The Household Register and the Family in Ancient China
  2. Perceptions of ‘Talented Women’
  3. Healthcare, the Body and Gender in Chinese Medicine
  4. The History of Women’s/Gender Studies and Feminism in China

Column 5: Sexual Minorities

Column 6: Theatre and Gender



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