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Women in Chinese History

Sept. 13:

Dr. Yao will provide an overview of Chinese gender constructs and gender institutions, as well as women's life and their domestic and societal roles from antiquity to 1912. Topics will include: Yin/Yang and perception of gender; the changing ideal of femininity and womanly virtue; women's life course; marriage patterns, practices, and law codes; the practice of courtesanship; the practice of foot binding; and women in Chinese religious tradition.

Scholar Bio: Ping Yao is a professor of History and Director of Asian and Asian American Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. Recognized as an esteemed Chinese history scholar, Yao's research focuses on women's lives and women's religious experiences. Since 1996, she has authored and coauthored books and articles, has published in edited volumes, and has translated works from English into Chinese and Japanese, and from Chinese and Japanese into English. Currently, she is serving on the editorial board of three international journals. Her academic accolades include a 2005 faculty research grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities for a project focusing on women's lives, and a 2006 Academic Excellence Award given to her by the Chinese Historians in the United States for an article on childbirth and maternal mortality. She was also a visiting professor at Harvard University during the 2008-2009 academic year. For four years, she served on the board of directors of the Chinese Historians in the United States, and went on to serve as the first female president of the organization.

Additional reading:
Wilt and Beata Grant. The Red Brush: Writing Women of Imperial China.
Patricia Ebrey, The Inner Quarters: Marriage and the Lives of Chinese Women in the Sung Period.
Patricia Ebrey, Women and the Family in Chinese History.
Susan Mann, Gender and Sexuality in Modern Chinese History.