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Women and China's Revolutions By Gail Hershatter

Women and China's Revolutions by Gail Hershatter

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Using gender as its analytic lens, this deeply knowledgeable text illuminates the places where the Big History of China's past two centuries intersects with the daily lives of ordinary people. Based on formidable scholarship, Gail Hershatter's beautifully written book will be essential reading for all students of China's modern history.

Women and China's Revolutions Summary

Women and China's Revolutions by Gail Hershatter

If we place women at the center of our account of China's last two centuries, how does this change our understanding of what happened? This deeply knowledgeable book illuminates the places where the Big History of recognizable events intersects with the daily lives of ordinary people, using gender as its analytic lens. Leading scholar Gail Hershatter asks how these events affected women in particular, and how women affected the course of these events. For instance, did women have a 1911 revolution? A socialist revolution? If so, what did those revolutions look like? Which women had them? Hershatter uses two key themes to frame her analysis. The first is the importance of women's visible and invisible labor. The labor of women in domestic and public spaces shaped China's move from empire to republic to socialist nation to rising capitalist power. The second is the symbolic work performed by gender itself. What women should do and be was a constant topic of debate during China's transformation from empire to weak state to partially occupied territory to nascent socialist republic to reform-era powerhouse. What sorts of concerns did people express through the language of gender? How did that language work, and why was it so powerful? Drawing on decades of Hershatter's groundbreaking scholarship and mastery of a range of literatures, this beautifully written book will be essential reading for all students of China's modern history.

Women and China's Revolutions Reviews

It takes rare academic courage and intellectual breadth to dare to write a book such as this. Gail Hershatter's narrative focus on women and gender alters what we thought we knew about modern Chinese history; her case for the centrality of women's labor to the past and to the present-Chinese or otherwise is compelling, persuasive, irrefutable. A teachable text, an eminently readable book, a critical work for our fraught global times. -- Rebecca E. Karl, New York University
Women and China's Revolutions asks one of the most important questions in the study of gender: how does women's history intersect with and alter our understanding of Big History? In answering this question, Hershatter draws on decades of her own pathbreaking research and synthesizes a vast range of literatures and approaches. Highly engaging and richly illustrated, this book brings together rural and urban developments and social and cultural methodologies in ways that are both illuminating and unprecedented. -- Joan Judge, York University
Based on exhaustive reading of the secondary literature, and on her own deep acquaintance with the history of women and gender in modern China, Hershatter traces women's lives over the two centuries since 1800 through a dual spotlight on women's labor and 'Woman' as symbol of big debates about national strengthening and social transformation. Hershatter's analysis demonstrates how a focus on women and gender raises new questions about mainstream narratives of China's modern history. Beautifully and accessibly written, there is no other volume to compete with this; it should become essential reading for all students of modern China. -- Harriet Evans, University of Westminster
This innovative and challenging book looks anew at China since 1800 through the lens of gender-and gives us not just one but many new perspectives. It is clear and comprehensive enough to use as a core book in an introductory class, and probing enough to make established scholars reconsider long-held opinions. From warfare to popular culture, economics to literature, family life to mass movements-choose your topic, and Gail Hershatter will help you reframe it in stimulating ways. -- Kenneth Pomeranz, University of Chicago

About Gail Hershatter

Gail Hershatter is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her books include The Gender of Memory: Rural Women and China's Collective Past and Women in China's Long Twentieth Century.

Table of Contents

List of Photos Acknowledgments Introduction 1 The Gendered Labor of Empire, 1800-1840 2 Disturbances, 1840-1900 3 Revolutionary Currents, 1895-1912 4 Imagined Futures, 1912-27 5 Regulatory Regimes, 1928-37 6 Wartime Women, 1928-41 7 Wartime Women, 1935-49 8 The Socialist Construction of Women, 1949-78 9 Capitalized Women, 1978- Glossary Notes Works Cited Index About the Author

Additional information

Women and China's Revolutions by Gail Hershatter
Rowman & Littlefield
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