The Legacy of the Maoist Gender Project in Contemporary China: A Feminist Research on Women's Oral Life Narratives Huang, Xin
This research uses feminist theories to analyze women’s oral life stories, especially the various ways the Maoist gender idea manifests itself in the lives of Chinese women today. Building on Judith Butler’s theories of “gender as performance”, it introduced the concept of gender as a “project” to convey both conscious manipulation at the collective level, and personal agency for individuals. This research includes detailed analysis of four cases: a rural migrant worker, an older urban woman who lived through the Mao era, a lesbian artist, and a woman who studied and lived in the West before returning to China. The analysis of content is complemented by a discussion of the structure and language of each narrative, including an innovative interviewing method of “telling and retelling”, hybrid narrative language—various mixtures of official dialect, regional dialects, and imported terms, as well as visual representations. Drawn on feminist studies on gender and self-narration, this research explores the various ways a feminist approach can document and theorize gendered experiences and subversive strategies. Xin Huang has a PhD degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of British Columbia, and is a Chiang Ching-Kuo Post-doctoral fellow in Women’s and Gender Studies and the Centre for Race Autobiography Gender and Age Studies at UBC. Her research focuses on gender and sexuality in contemporary China. She also has been involved in various research projects on gender and sexuality in Chinese popular culture, and Chinese immigrant women in Canada. She is currently working on her post-doctoral project: The “Taming” Of Maoist Women: Changing Representations of Gender In China in Personal Photo Albums.
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