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FT-270541-20

Xia Shi
New College of Florida (Sarasota, FL 34243-2146)
Concubines, Gender, and the Politics of the Private in Republican China, 1912-1949

Research and writing leading to a book on the status of concubines in Republican China (1912-1949) and their role in public debates about China’s past and future.

In Republican China (1912-49), the degree of public visibility that was given to concubines, a low-status category of women, was unmatched in history. Meanwhile, concubines became stigmatized as glaring symbols of the degenerate Chinese nation. This book explores this paradox by examining the controversial public presence of concubines and its multifaceted social and cultural consequences in an age when reformists had launched vehement attacks on concubinage. It argues that these women should not be evaluated as merely members of an outdated social category waiting to be eliminated but were a key group of controversial women who were often at the center of intense public debates about China’s imperial past and its Republican future. By showing how concubines’ public visibility intricately connected elite men’s private lives to national politics, the book provides new insights on how gender functioned in important yet overlooked ways in the progressive politics of the Republic.

Project fields:
East Asian History; East Asian Studies; Women's History

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/21/2021 – 7/20/2021