Finding Women in the State: A Socialist Feminist Revolution in the People's Republic of China, 1949-1964
Wang Zheng, Professor of Women's Studies and History; Research Scientist, Institute for Research on Women and Gender
Mary E. Gallagher, Professor, Department of Political Science; Director, Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies
Kathleen Canning, Sonya O. Rose Collegiate Professor, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Department of History
This panel of U-M faculty members will discuss the recent book, Finding Women in the State: A Socialist Feminist Revolution in the People's Republic of China, 1949-1964 (University of California Press, 2016) by Wang Zheng.
Finding Women in the State is a provocative hidden history of socialist state feminists maneuvering behind the scenes at the core of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). These women worked to advance gender and class equality in the early People’s Republic and fought to transform sexist norms and practices, all while facing fierce opposition from a male-dominated CCP leadership from the Party Central to the local government. Wang Zheng extends this investigation to the cultural realm, showing how feminists within China’s film industry were working to actively create new cinematic heroines, and how they continued a New Culture anti-patriarchy heritage in socialist film production.
This book illuminates not only the different visions of revolutionary transformation but also the dense entanglements among those in the top echelon of the party. Wang discusses the causes for failure of China’s socialist revolution and raises fundamental questions about male dominance in social movements that aim to pursue social justice and equality. This is the first book engendering the PRC high politics and has important theoretical and methodological implications for scholars and students working in gender studies as well as China studies.
This event is part of IRWG's Gender: New Works, New Questions series.
Read the book's introduction.