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The Birth of Chinese Feminism


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He-Yin Zhen was one of the most original-yet today least well-known-feminist theorists of the late Qing era. Her intellectual/political project, which she approached via a wide-ranging (and uncompromising) critique of patriarchy, capitalism, liberalism, and imperialism, was to link gendered forms of subjugation to global systems of power. The Birth of Chinese Feminism not only sheds light on the unique vision of a remarkable turn-of-the century radical thinker but also provides a fresh lens through which we can examine one of the most fascinating and complex junctures in modern Chinese history. -- Amy Dooling, author of Women's Literary Feminism in Twentieth-Century China This magnificent volume opens up a past and conjures a future. Anarcho-feminist He-Yin Zhen published her passionate and closely reasoned essays more than a century ago, yet the issues she raises have yet to be addressed adequately in China or anywhere else. The Birth of Chinese Feminism offers us the best of her writing and that of her feminist male contemporaries, with whom she did not always agree. The editors and translators have restored to visibility a world crackling with debate about equality, hierarchy, property, and justice. They challenge us to keep one appreciative eye on history and another on the conundrum of our own moment. -- Gail Hershatter, author of The Gender of Memory: Rural Women and China's Collective Past

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments List of Chinese Dynasties and Note on Translation Introduction: Toward a Transnational Feminist Theory The Historical Context: Chinese Feminist Worlds at the Turn of the Twentieth Century He-Yin Zhen Biography He-Yin Zhen, "On the Question of Women's Liberation" He-Yin Zhen, "On the Question of Women's Labor" He-Yin Zhen, "Economic Revolution and Women's Revolution" He-Yin Zhen, "On the Revenge of Women" He-Yin Zhen, "On Feminist Antimilitarism" He-Yin Zhen, "The Feminist Manifesto" Liang Qichao Biography Liang Qichao, "On Women's Education" Jin Tianhe Biography Jin Tianhe, "The Women's Bell" Bibliography Index

About the Author

Lydia H. Liu is Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University and codirector of the Center for Translingual and Transcultural Studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing. She is the author of The Clash of Empires: The Invention of China in Modern World Making and, more recently, The Freudian Robot: Digital Media and the Future of the Unconscious. Rebecca E. Karl is associate professor of history at New York University. She is the author of Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth-Century World: A Concise History and Staging the World: Chinese Nationalism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. Dorothy Ko, a native of Hong Kong, is professor of history at Barnard College. She is a coeditor of Women and Confucian Cultures in Pre-modern China, Korea, and Japan and the author of Teachers of the Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in Seventeenth-Century China and Cinderella's Sisters: A Revisionist History of Footbinding.


The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory is less a broad collection of essays than it is a well-argued case for the transnational and radical origins of Chinese feminism. MCLC In resuscitating He-Yin Zhen's work, [the editors and translators] have produced a volume that challenges long-established views about the birth of Chinee feminism and repositions it as a pluralist and global event, the theoretical significance of which continues to resonate today. Radical Philosophy A terrific book. -- Tani Barlow Modern Chinese Literature and Culture A powerful discussion highly recommended for college-level Chinese culture and women's studies collections alike. Midwest Book Review An invaluable contribution to anyone interested in Chinese intellectual history or the history of feminism across nations and across time periods. Books & Culture A well-argued case for the transnational and radical origins of Chinese feminism. -- Shaoling Ma Modern Chinese Literature & Culture

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