Homebound: One Woman's Chinese Revolution, 1897-1975

Dr. Gail Hershatter, Homebound: One Woman's Chinese Revolution, 1897-1975
Dr. Gail Hershatter, Homebound: One Woman's Chinese Revolution, 1897-1975

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Social Science & Humanities 4217

This lecture explores the life of an elite woman. Daughter of a Beiyang reformer, wife of a Nationalist official educated at MIT, mother of an underground Communist revolutionary, she herself left no direct trace in the public record. She emerges primarily in interviews with her son, and in an unfinished and unpublished historical novel by her daughter. Filial love, household management, sexual propriety, wifely duty, maternal loyalty, domestic cosmopolitanism, and shrewd political judgment mingle in her story, raising questions about where revolution lies and how we should track its less visible effects. Her life illuminates the gendered effects of China’s long revolution, the central importance of women as symbols of the nation, and the limits of what we can know about the past.

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