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postgraduate thesis: Gender discourses and female subjectivities in 1949-1966 Chinesewomen's writings

TitleGender discourses and female subjectivities in 1949-1966 Chinesewomen's writings
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Vukovich, DF
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Liu, X. [刘希]. (2013). Gender discourses and female subjectivities in 1949-1966 Chinese women's writings. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5089964
AbstractThis study provides a critical inquiry into the textual (self-)representations of Chinese females’ perception and experience of “women’s liberation” in 1949-1966 Chinese women’s autobiographical and fictional writings. Through historical and textual analyses, it looks into Chinese women’s multiple textual/discursive practices and their subjectivities constituted in the process. These narrative practices are treated as salient sites of women’s struggle for self-understanding, self-liberating as well as self-inventing in their own specific social and cultural conditions. The study aims to disclose the complexity of the discursive field centering on the topic of socialist women’s liberation and the dynamic interplay between different female authors and the socialist political/gender discourses within 1949-1966 socialist cultural public sphere. The thesis first examines the autobiographical, first-person female narratives appeared on three Fulian(Women’s Federation)–sponsored national and local women’s magazines: Women of China (中国妇女), Beijing Women (北京妇女), and Modern Women (现代妇女). It probes into how female narrators, from different social backgrounds, understand and restructure in their writings their past and present lives in terms of (public) labor, female freedom and new social identification. Secondly, the thesis investigates fictions and plays by female writers, which provide historically-specific gendered perspectives to the issue of “women’s liberation” as well as women’s position in and their relationship with socialism. It explores women’s perception of public and domestic labor, their formation of collective identities in the process of socialist construction, their gender struggle with and contestation to the persistent ideology of patriarchy in the new social order, all of which are revealed in their literary practices. This thesis argues that in these different sorts of writings, the representations of experience of “women’s liberation” are intimately related, but not identical, to the state-sanctioned conceptual and discursive framework. Socialist political and gender discourses actually exert unpredictable, diffuse, locally and individually contingent effects on Chinese women who actively engage in different forms of writing. The self-perception and self-fashioning represented in these women’s cultural practices are enabled by, but may also go beyond, the revolutionary language or state-inflected discourses, indicating more complicated and specific meanings of Chinese socialist ideologies and practices for individual women. Different writers choose or abandon, appropriate or dis-employ, embrace or interrogate, be close to or keep at a distance certain socialist political and gender discourses, in order to forge and interpret women’s experience from their own specific contexts. They may be empowered by the revolutionary discourses and rhetoric, yet they do not identify themselves as mere passive beneficiaries of the socialist regime, but as active agents in their self-liberation and self-transformation. It is in this process that their different subjectivities are constituted, their agency created and asserted.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectWomen authors, Chinese - 20th century.
Feminism - China.
Dept/ProgramComparative Literature
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/192819

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorVukovich, DF-
dc.contributor.authorLiu, Xi-
dc.contributor.author刘希-
dc.date.accessioned2013-11-24T02:00:55Z-
dc.date.available2013-11-24T02:00:55Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationLiu, X. [刘希]. (2013). Gender discourses and female subjectivities in 1949-1966 Chinese women's writings. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5089964-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/192819-
dc.description.abstractThis study provides a critical inquiry into the textual (self-)representations of Chinese females’ perception and experience of “women’s liberation” in 1949-1966 Chinese women’s autobiographical and fictional writings. Through historical and textual analyses, it looks into Chinese women’s multiple textual/discursive practices and their subjectivities constituted in the process. These narrative practices are treated as salient sites of women’s struggle for self-understanding, self-liberating as well as self-inventing in their own specific social and cultural conditions. The study aims to disclose the complexity of the discursive field centering on the topic of socialist women’s liberation and the dynamic interplay between different female authors and the socialist political/gender discourses within 1949-1966 socialist cultural public sphere. The thesis first examines the autobiographical, first-person female narratives appeared on three Fulian(Women’s Federation)–sponsored national and local women’s magazines: Women of China (中国妇女), Beijing Women (北京妇女), and Modern Women (现代妇女). It probes into how female narrators, from different social backgrounds, understand and restructure in their writings their past and present lives in terms of (public) labor, female freedom and new social identification. Secondly, the thesis investigates fictions and plays by female writers, which provide historically-specific gendered perspectives to the issue of “women’s liberation” as well as women’s position in and their relationship with socialism. It explores women’s perception of public and domestic labor, their formation of collective identities in the process of socialist construction, their gender struggle with and contestation to the persistent ideology of patriarchy in the new social order, all of which are revealed in their literary practices. This thesis argues that in these different sorts of writings, the representations of experience of “women’s liberation” are intimately related, but not identical, to the state-sanctioned conceptual and discursive framework. Socialist political and gender discourses actually exert unpredictable, diffuse, locally and individually contingent effects on Chinese women who actively engage in different forms of writing. The self-perception and self-fashioning represented in these women’s cultural practices are enabled by, but may also go beyond, the revolutionary language or state-inflected discourses, indicating more complicated and specific meanings of Chinese socialist ideologies and practices for individual women. Different writers choose or abandon, appropriate or dis-employ, embrace or interrogate, be close to or keep at a distance certain socialist political and gender discourses, in order to forge and interpret women’s experience from their own specific contexts. They may be empowered by the revolutionary discourses and rhetoric, yet they do not identify themselves as mere passive beneficiaries of the socialist regime, but as active agents in their self-liberation and self-transformation. It is in this process that their different subjectivities are constituted, their agency created and asserted.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B50899648-
dc.subject.lcshWomen authors, Chinese - 20th century.-
dc.subject.lcshFeminism - China.-
dc.titleGender discourses and female subjectivities in 1949-1966 Chinesewomen's writings-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5089964-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineComparative Literature-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5089964-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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