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Nationalism and Beyond: Writings on Nüjie and the Emergence of a New Gendered Collective Identity in Modern China

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image of NAN NÜ

This study focuses on nüjie, as a new conceptualization of women’s public identity, and the transformations in its meaning in early twentieth-century China. Rather than merely perceiving nüjie as a term for collective womanhood in the context of Chinese nationalism and feminism, this essay reinterprets it as a conceptual totality as well as a powerful category to redraw Chinese women’s links to those connections between the Chinese nation and women, gendered social relations, and more broadly, the relationship of women to the modernizing world. By examining writings – in particular women’s writings on nüjie in late Qing women’s feminist journals, this essay argues it was through the empowering category of nüjie that women writers constructed feminist critiques within – and against – the nationalist discourse, and ultimately, envisioned a new collective identity for Chinese women.

Affiliations: 1: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology


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