List of Photos
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–
About the Author
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.
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.
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.
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.