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Revitalizing the Xianyuan (Worthy Ladies) Tradition; Women in the 1898 Reforms
Article from Journal - ilmiah internasional
Modern China vol. 29 no. 4 (Oct. 2003)
1898 Reform Movement
history of women
education for Chinese women
tradition and modernity
One particularly neglected facet of the generally neglected 1898 Reform Movement in China is the role of women. Chinese and Western scholars have tended to portray the campaign primarily as a male-led, Western-oriented enterprise in which Chinese women were largely silent and submissive, compliant rather than contentious. This article suggests, by contrast, that Chinese women participated in the 1890s reforms as active organizers and sophisticated thinkers. They had their own agenda, agency, organizations, and specific strategies for forming a new Chinese womanhood and for national strengthening. Their approach to reform drew substantially on Chinese traditions of learning withantecedents as early as the Wei-Jin period (220-420); it also reflected more recent traditions of women’s literary culture and communit in the Yangzi delta during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These openminded and self-confident women reformers enthusiastically embraced new Western knowledge and attracted effective help from Western allies, both male and female.
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