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"How Can a Daughter Glorify the Family Name?" Filiality and Women's Rights in the Late Qing

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This paper examines married daughters' filiality toward their natal families through three case studies. The protagonists are Qiu Jin (1875?-1907), Wu Zhiying (1868-1934) and Xu Zihua (1873-1935). Using the lens of filiality, we are able to observe the finer nuances of their gendered self-conception within the context of the rapidly changing world at the end of China's imperial era. I argue that the language and sentiment of filiality facilitated a substantial broadening of women's rights: in expanding what a literati daughter can claim as her intellectual inheritance, in providing the basis of a legal argument for a daughter's inheritance rights, and in offering a conduit for the experience of women's participation in political changes.

Affiliations: 1: University of California, Irvine


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