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Spaces of Their Own

Women’s Public Sphere in Transnational China

1998
Author:

Mayfair Mei-hui Yang

Spaces of Their Own

An exploration of women’s public expression--in China and beyond.

How are the public and political lives of Chinese women constrained by states and economies? The essays in this volume examine the possibilities for a public sphere for Chinese women, one that would emerge from concrete historical situations and local contexts and also cut across the political boundaries separating the Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the West.

Contributors: Susan Brownell, Virginia Cornue, Dai Jinhua, Kathleen Erwin, Elaine Yee Lin Ho, Lee Yuan-chen, Li Xiaojiang, Lisa Rofel, Tze-lan Deborah Sang, Shu-mei Shih, Zhang Zhen.

With wonderfully readable essays by scholars from China, Taiwan, and the United States, Spaces of Their Own makes a much needed contribution to our understanding of the complex workings of power relations in contemporary China.

Hu Ying, University of California, Irvine

How are the public and political lives of Chinese women constrained by states and economies? And how have pockets of women’s consciousness come to be produced in and disseminated from this traditionally masculine milieu? The essays in this volume examine the possibilities for a public sphere for Chinese women, one that would emerge from concrete historical situations and local contexts and also cut across the political boundaries separating the Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the West.

The challenges of this project are taken up in essays on the legacy of state feminism on the Mainland as contrasted with a grassroots women’s movement in Taiwan; on the role of the capitalist consumer economy in the emerging lesbian movement in Taiwan; and on the increased trafficking of women as brides, prostitutes, and mistresses between the Mainland and wealthy male patrons in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The writers’ examples of masculine domination in the media include the reformulation of Chinese women in Fifth Generation films for a transnational Western male film audience and the portrayal of Mainland women in Taiwanese and Hong Kong media. The contributors also consider male nationalism as it is revealed through both international sports coverage on television and in a Chinese television drama. Other works examine a women’s museum, a telephone hotline in Beijing, the films of Hong Kong filmmaker Ann Hui, the transnational contacts of a Taiwanese feminist organization, the diaspora of Mainland women writers, and the differences between Chinese and Western feminist themes.

Contributors: Susan Brownell, U of Missouri; Virginia Cornue; Dai Jinhua, Beijing U; Kathleen Erwin; Elaine Yee Lin Ho, Hong Kong U; Lee Yuan-chen, Tamkang U; Li Xiaojiang, Zhengzhou U and Henan U; Lisa Rofel, U of California, Santa Cruz; Tze-lan Deborah Sang, U of Oregon; Shu-mei Shih, UCLA; Zhang Zhen.

ISBN 0-8166-3145-X Cloth $49.95xx
ISBN 0-8166-3146-8 Paper $19.95x
336 pages 9 black-and-white photos 5 7/8 x 9 February
Public Worlds Series, volume 4
Translation inquiries: University of Minnesota Press

Spaces of Their Own

Mayfair Mei-hui Yang is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Spaces of Their Own

With wonderfully readable essays by scholars from China, Taiwan, and the United States, Spaces of Their Own makes a much needed contribution to our understanding of the complex workings of power relations in contemporary China.

Hu Ying, University of California, Irvine

This is a timely and thoughtful volume, an essential contribution to the debate on the notion of the ‘public sphere’ in Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China, and Hong Kong.

Gina Marchetti, University of Maryland

Mayfair Yang’s book sheds fascinating new light on a region of public space that has to this point remained obscure. The result will make us rethink our understanding of public spheres in apparently familiar contexts.

Nancy Fraser, The New School for Social Research, and author of Unruly Practices

Gripping reading. In twelve equally fascinating contributions, this volume discusses the feasibility of a women’s public sphere in ‘transnational China.’ There is much to be learned from this impressive volume. It will certainly be difficult to follow up with volumes of similarly consistent quality writing!

Journal of Asian Studies