Rural Women and China's Disappearing Collective Past

Photo for Rural Women and China
Talk by Gail Hershatter, University of California, Santa Cruz

Monday, November 17, 2014
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Bunche Hall 6275 - History Conference Room

What can we learn about the Chinese revolution by placing a doubly marginalized group—rural women—at the center of the inquiry? And how does an examination of collectivization in China help us to understand the rapidly changing countryside today? In this talk, Gail Hershatter explores changes in the lives of women in rural Shaanxi province during the early decades of state socialism, the 1950s and 1960s, comparing them to the lives of women in contemporary rural China. She asks whether rural Chinese women had a revolution, and if so, when and what sort of revolution it was. Such questions encourage us to consider others that preoccupy historians: when is gender a useful category of historical analysis? How is the historical record shaped in interactions with the present moment? What counts as an event worth remembering? Who gets to decide?

Gail Hershatter is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her books include The Workers of Tianjin, 1900-1949 (1986), Personal Voices: Chinese Women in the 1980s (with Emily Honig, 1988), Dangerous Pleasures: Prostitution and Modernity in Twentieth-Century Shanghai (1997), Women in China’s Long Twentieth Century (2007), and The Gender of Memory: Rural Women and China’s Collective Past (2011). She is a former President of the Association for Asian Studies (2011-2012).
Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies, Department of History

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Published: Monday, November 17, 2014