Trim: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-6440-2 • Hardback • July 2011 • $126.00 • (£97.00)
978-0-7391-6442-6 • eBook • September 2011 • $114.00 • (£88.00)
Tina Johnson is an assistant professor of ancient and modern East Asian history at Saint Vincent College, Pennsylvania.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Chapter One. Missionaries and Modernity
Chapter 3 Chapter Two. Reproduction Theory: Modern Childbirth and Modern Motherhood
Chapter 4 Chapter Three. The Midwifery Profession
Chapter 5 Chapter Four. National Reproduction in Republican China
Chapter 6 Epilogue. Reproduction in Twentieth-Century China
Joining a wave of interesting new studies of the entwined histories of medicine, gender, and the state in modern China, this book focuses attention on the science of reproduction and on midwives and changes in their profession in the 1920s and 1930s. Johnson (Saint Vincent College) argues that a long process of 'medicalization' of childbirth was initiated by Euro-American Christian missionaries in the late 19th century and carried out more systematically by the nationalist and communist governments beginning in the 1920s. Thus, the state claimed an increasingly significant role in the lives of women and their babies. Midwifery was transformed from a local practice to a standardized and regulated profession until being abolished in 1993. Johnson brings to light important archival material, as well as professional and popular literature on reproduction and childbirth in early-20th-century China. Detailed accounts of the individuals and institutions responsible for this great transformation in Chinese lifeways and medical practice, as well as carefully chosen illustrations, enliven the book. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.
— Choice Reviews
Johnson’s book has made a laudable contribution by uncovering a variety of perspectives from which the issue of childbirth could be addressed.... Childbirth in Republican China adds the important issue of childbirth to the recent scholarly scrutiny of the traditional/modern divide in Asian medicine. The book is an informative read for anyone interested in women’s health, professionalisation, family life, and state building in the twentieth century, and paves the road for further studies using some of its materials.
— Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity
This well-researched book is an important addition to the literature on state-building and modernization in modern China. Focusing on the introduction and development of the biomedical birth model in the Republican period, it provides a stimulating case study of the transformation of reproduction during a period of far-reaching social, intellectual and cultural changes. The author's careful and insightful analysis of the issues of modernization, state-building, gender roles, consumer culture, and the medicalization of birth in modern China is scholarly and commendable. The book will be of considerable value to historians of China and medicine, sociologists and anthropologists, as well as gender studies scholars.
— Ka-che Yip, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
This richly-detailed analysis is an important contribution to our understanding of the ways in which gender, medicine, and state-building have historically intersected in modern China. Through a multi-faceted account of the individuals and institutions who sought to reform traditional midwifery practices, Childbirth in Republican China reveals how measures intended to improve women's status could also subject female reproductive bodies to intensified government control. It is sure to become a standard reference in the field.
— Yi Li Wu, author of Reproducing Women: Medicine, Metaphor, and Childbirth in Late Imperial China