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York China Studies project

A New Approach to the Popular Press in China: Gender and Cultural Production, 1904-1937


 
Principal Researchers
Joan Judge, Barbara Mittler, Grace Fong
Researchers
Julia Andrews, Michel Hockx, Christian Henriot
Research Assistants
Doris Ha-Lin Sung, Annika Joest, Sun Liying

This project is funded by Humboldt Foundation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

"A New Approach to the Popular Press in China: Gender and Cultural Production, 1904-1937" seeks to restore complexity to early-twentieth-century Chinese history by liberating that history from its own reductive discourses on the failings of tradition and the promise of modernity.

Our instrument and object of investigation is the popular press, a new and as yet understudied medium that dominated the contemporary print market and became one of the prime sites for the production of knowledge and culture.

The project's thematic focus is the fraught and momentous subject of new gender relations in this period when footbinding ended, formal female education was officially sanctioned (1907), and women’s public roles dramatically expanded. Combining the methods of cultural, print, and women’s history, our geographical locus is Shanghai, epicenter of developments in both the periodical press and gender relations at the turn of the twentieth century. We use four influential Chinese women’s journals—a key genre of the popular press—to analyze shifts in gender roles, cultural practices, and in the very media that both drove and reflected these changes.

For a full project description, click here.


Researchers:

 

Joan Judge

Joan Judge | CV
Professor Judge is the co-principal investigators for the 'A New Approach to the Popular Press in China: Gender and Cultural Production, 1904-1937'. She received her PhD from Columbia University in 1993. Her most recent publication is The Precious Raft of History: The Past, the West, and the Woman Question in China (Stanford University Press, 2008). She is also the author of Print and Politics: ‘Shibao’ and the Culture of Reform in Late Qing China (Stanford University Press, 1996) and of numerous articles on Chinese print culture and Chinese women.

In 2009-2010, Dr. Judge has given a number of papers on various aspects of her contribution to the project in Canada, the United States, Germany, France, Australia and China.

She taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, before moving to Toronto in 2005 and is currently Professor of History at York University. She has spent several years in East Asia both gathering sources and sharing her research findings with Chinese and Japanese colleagues.


Barbara Mittler Barbara Mittler | CV
Professor Mittler is the Modern China Chair and Director at the Institute of Chinese Studies, University of Heidelberg and Speaker of Research Area B “Public Spheres” in the Cluster of Excellence at the University of Heidelberg titled “Asia and Europe in a Global Context: Shifting Asymmetries in Cultural Flows.”

In the “A New Approach to the Popular Press in China” project, Dr Mittler is concerned with uncovering the changing meanings of a conspicuous figure in the so-called new woman, or xin nu xing.

Professor Mittler began her studies of Sinology at the University of Oxford (MA Oxon 1990). During her studies, she spent longer research periods in Taiwan, the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong and at Harvard University. Her PhD (1994) and her Habilitation (1998) is from Heidelberg where she has worked as researcher (1994-), Assistant Professor (1996-) and Associate Professor (1999-). In 2000 she received the Heinz-Maier-Leibnitz-Prize for young and outstanding scholars by the German Research Foundation and the German Ministry of Culture. Between 2002-2004 she was a recipient of the Heisenberg Fellowship awarded by the German Research Foundation. In 2004 she became Full Professor at Heidelberg University. Since 2007 she has served in the Steering Committee and as Speaker and Coordinator for one of the four research areas in the one and only Cluster of Excellence in the Humanities at Heidelberg University.

Barbara Mittler has published widely on Chinese avantgarde music (Dangerous Tunes: The Politics of Chinese Music in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the People's Republic of China since 1949, Harrassowitz 1997) und on the early Chinese press (A Newspaper for China? Power, Identity and Change in China's News-Media, 1872-1912, Harvard University Press, 2004). Her books have become standard reading in the field of contemporary Chinese music and the early Chinese Press, respectively. She has recently finished a third book-length study on cultural and artistic production during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), which approaches this complex period making use of methods from Cultural Studies and Oral History. Currently, she is engaged in writing a history of the tropes of New Man and New Woman in China’s long twentieth century.
Grace Fong Grace Fong | CV
Grace Fong (B.A., M.A. University of Toronto; Ph.D. University of British Columbia) is Professor of Premodern Chinese Literature in the Department of East Asian Studies, McGill University. She has published widely on classical Chinese poetry and women’s writings in the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Her recent publications include the monograph Herself an Author: Gender, Agency, and Writing in Late Imperial China (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2008) and the co-edited volumes Different Worlds of Discourse: Transformations of Gender and Genre in Late Qing and Early Republican China (Leiden: Brill, 2008) and The Inner Quarters and Beyond: Women Writers from Ming through Qing (Leiden: Brill 2010). She is also the editor of the Brill series Women and Gender in China Studies and the project editor of Ming Qing Women’s Writings, a digital archive and database of more than 100 collections of women’s writings in the holdings of the Harvard-Yenching Library and Peking University Library.

Her ongoing research examines the dialectic construction of life histories in women’s literary collections through text and paratext, which reveal hidden lives, new discourses, and gendered practices that complicate and enrich current knowledge of biographical and autobiographical practices in Chinese culture. In the current project, she explores both conventional and emergent genres in new print media as significant sites for examining the construction of women as new writers and readers in late Qing and early Republican China.
Julia Andrews

Julia Andrews |
Professor Andrews is a specialist in Chinese painting and modern Chinese art. Her first book, Painters and Politics in the People's Republic of China (1994), won the Joseph Levenson Prize of the Association for Asian Studies for the best book of the year on modern China. She is currently working on Art in Modern China and an essay to be published in Mahjong, an exhibition catalogue for the Berkeley Art Museum. In addition to writing and teaching, she served as co-curator and catalogue author for one of the first American exhibitions of contemporary Chinese art, Fragmented Memory: The Chinese Avant-Garde in Exile, at OSU's Wexner Center for the Arts in 1993, and of the Guggenheim Museum's 1998 exhibition, A Century in Crisis: Modernity and Tradition in the Art of Twentieth Century China, shown in New York and Bilbao. In 2006, she co-organized Chinese Painting on the Eve of the Communist Revolution: Chang Shu-chi and his Collection, for Stanford's Cantor Arts Center, and in 1997, showed original drawings from Shanghai People's Art Publishing House in Literature in Line: Lianhuanhua from China at OSU's Cartoon Research Library.


Michel Hockx Michel Hockx |
Professor Hockx is Professor of Chinese at SOAS, University of London. He obtained his PhD in 1994 from Leiden University, The Netherlands, for a thesis on modern Chinese poetry. He has since gone on to do research in the area of sociology of literature, with particular reference to modern Chinese literary communities, their practices and their publications.

His 2003 monograph Questions of Style (Leiden: Brill) is a study of literary societies and literary journals from the Republican period. In the book, he introduces an analytical approach towards studying literary journals which he calls "horizontal reading".

His contribution to the current project lies in the further development of the "horizontal reading" approach in the specific context of the study of the early modern Chinese popular press.
Christian Henriot Christian Henriot |
Christian Henriot is Professor of Chinese history at the Lumière-Lyon 2 University and currently a Research Fellow at the Institut Universitaire de France. He is the author and editor of several books on modern Chinese history, including Prostitution and Sexuality in Shanghai. A Social History, 1849-1949 (Cambridge UP, 2001) and In the Shadow of the Rising Sun. Shanghai under Japanese Occupation (Cambridge UP, 2004). His latest project is an on line research and resource platform on Shanghai history.
Doris Ha-Lin Sung Doris Ha-Lin Sung |
Doris Sung is a PhD candidate in the Social and Political Thought program at York University. Doris’s research focuses on Chinese women’s painting and multimedia artwork from the 1900s to the present. She is working on the dissertation entitled “Self-representations of Body and Gender in the Art of Pan Yuliang (1895-1977).”

In this project, Doris works with Professor Joan Judge on the journals “Funü shibao” (Women’s Eastern Times, 1911-1917), and “Funü zazhi” (The Ladies’ Journal, 1915-1932).

In December 2009, Ms. Sung presented a paper entitled “Chinese Women and Careers in the Arts and Crafts, 1910-1937 – A Study of Images and Texts in Funü shibao and Funü zazhi” at the project workshop held in Heidelberg University.

Annika Joest
Annika Joest |
Annika is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Chinese Studies at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Her dissertation analyzes the new “New Woman”, her categories and how she is presented and perceived in and by contemporary Chinese women’s magazines over the past 20 years. Magazines include state-owned magazines like Zhongguo Funü (Women of China), Chinese home-grown magazines Jiating (Family) and Funü zhi you (Women’s Friend/Companion) and the Chinese editions of international glossy magazines (Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan).

Annika holds a MA in Modern Chinese Studies from the University of Heidelberg. She also studied at Nankai University in Tianjin, China. Currently, she is working as a research assistant for “A New Approach to the Popular Press in China: Gender and Cultural Production, 1904-1937”.

Since March 2009 Annika is also research fellow of the project “Rethinking Trends – Transcultural Flows in Popular Spheres”, a subproject of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” which is funded by the German Research Foundation.

Her project is titled "Global Supermothers and Superfathers: A New Transcultural Trend in the Popular Media?" and analyzes the depiction of mothers and fathers in popular media, especially in lifestyle magazines, women’s magazines, and on popular websites. It hopes to trace the transcultural travel which constructions and/or deconstructions of global “superparents” have made over the past ten years in selected countries (namely Germany, Great Britain, United States, China, Taiwan and India).

Liying Sun
Sun Liying |
Liying is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Chinese Studies at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. She focuses on the history of dissemination of transcultural nudes and naked bodies as well as the perception of new body culture both in elite and popular discourses in China between the 1910s and 1930s. She has worked as Chinese language teacher and research assistant for several projects, including the “The Common People and the Artist in the 1930s” and “A Literary Biography of the Late Qing/Republican period woman poet Lü Bicheng (1883-1943)”.

Liying holds a Masters degree in History from Nankai University, China. Currently, she is working as a research assistant for “A New Approach to the Popular Press in China: Gender and Cultural Production, 1904-1937”.

Related Publications:

> Sun, Liying (Forthcoming). An Exotic Self? Tracing Transcultural Flows of Western Nudes in Pei-yang Pictorial News (1926-1933)”. In C. Brosius and R. Wenzlhuemer (eds.) Transcultural Turbulences. Heidelberg: Springer.

> Judge, Joan (2011). “Minkoku shoki no nichijô seikatsu: Fujo jihô kara yomitoku” 民国初期の 日常生活:『婦女時報から読み解く(Daily Life During the Republican Period: What we can Learn from Reading the Funu shibao”). Chûgoku josei shi kenkyû 中国女性史研究 (February).  

> Judge, Joan (2009). "A Translocal Technology of the Self: Biographies of World Heroines and the Chinese Woman Question". Journal of Women’s History Special Double Issue: Critical Feminist Biography as Translocal History, co-ed. Marilyn Booth and Antoinette Burton. 21(4): 59-83.

> Judge, Joan (2008). The Precious Raft of History: The Past, the West, and the Woman Question in China. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

> Fong, Grace (2008). Herself an Author: Gender, Agency, and Writing in Late Imperial China. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

> Mittler, Barbara (2004). A Newspaper for China? Power, Identity, and Change in Shanghai’s News Media, 1872-1912. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center.

> Judge, Joan (1996). Print and Politics: ‘Shibao’ and the Culture of Reform in Late Qing China. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

> More publications...


Related Presentations and Events:

> Conference explores popular press through Chinese women’s journals (13-15 May 2011)

> “Art and Sensibility of the New Woman in Funü shibao and Funü zazhi: Chinese Tradition and Western Influence”
Doris Sung presentation
Gender and Transcultural Production: Chinese Women’s Journals in their Global Context 1900-2000, SOAS, University of London, May 2011

>  “Contemporary Visualisations of Foreign Women (the “Other”) in India’s and China’s Vogue and Elle”
Annika Joest/ Laila Abu-Er-Rub presentation
Gender and Transcultural Production: Chinese Women’s Journals in their Global Context 1900-2000, SOAS, University of London, May 2011

> “Foreign Knowledge of Bodies: Japanese Sources, Western Science, and China’s Republican Lady”
Joan Judge presentation
Gender and Transcultural Production: Chinese Women’s Journals in their Global Context 1900-2000, SOAS, University of London, May 2011

> “Radicalizing Poetics - A Tale Once Told: Gender and Poetic Practice in Women’s World, 1904-1907”
Grace Fong presentation
Gender and Transcultural Production: Chinese Women’s Journals in their Global Context 1900-2000, SOAS, University of London, May 2011

>  “The New Eve Undressed: Nudes in Linglong and American Popular Journals (1920s-1930s)”
Liying Sun presentation
Gender and Transcultural Production: Chinese Women’s Journals in their Global Context 1900-2000, SOAS, University of London, May 2011

> “The New (Wo)man and Her/His Others: Foreigners on the Pages of China’s Women’s Magazines”
Barbara Mittler presentation
Gender and Transcultural Production: Chinese Women’s Journals in their Global Context 1900-2000, SOAS, University of London, May 2011

> “Women’s Journals, Pornography, and the Modern Chinese Literary Field”
Michel Hockx presentation
Gender and Transcultural Production: Chinese Women’s Journals in their Global Context 1900-2000, SOAS, University of London, May 2011

> “The Courtesan’s Other: Visibility, Sexuality, and the Republican Lady”
Joan Judge presentation
“Camera Sinica: Uses and Meanings of Photography in China, Early-Twentieth to Early-Twenty-First Centuries” workshop, York University, Toronto, March 2011.

> "Researching the Republic”
Professor Michel Hockx spoke on the use of digitized material for the study of Republican-era culture, and he used his research on Meiyu as an example, and also referred to the work done by the project.
Invited Lecture, University of Oxford, England, January 2011

> “Chinese Women and Careers in the Arts and Crafts, 1910-1937 – A Study of Images and Texts in Funü shibao and Funü zazhi”.
Doris Sung presentation
Fifth Women and Gender in Chinese Studies (WAGNet) Graduate Workshop. University of Westminster, London, January 2011.

““顯像讀者 – «婦女雜誌» 中1915 至 1920 年的照片” (Visualizing Readers in The Ladies’ Journal: Photographs from 1915-1920)”
Grace Fong Invited Lecture
Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, December 2010

“Republican Ladies, Urbane Beauties, and Iron Maidens: Chinese Magazine Cover Girls, 1911-2010”
Joan Judge presentation
“China in the Long Twentieth Century: Overcoming the 1949 Divide” workshop, York University, Toronto, November 2011

“The Courtesan’s Other: Visibility, Sexuality, and the Republican Lady”
Joan Judge Invited Lecture
University of California, Santa Cruz, November 2010

“The Courtesan’s Other: Visibility, Sexuality, and the Republican Lady”
Joan Judge Invited Lecture
Pomona College, Claremont, California, November 2010

“Paratext and Publicity: Magazine Cover Girls and Readerly Engagement in the Early 20th Century”
Joan Judge presentation
“Paratexts in Late Imperial Chinese Book Culture” conference, University of Heidelberg, Germany, October 2010

> “A New Genre for Women? Author, Audience and Language in the Vernacular Column “Yantan” 演壇 in Nüzi shijie 女子世界”
Grace Fong presentation
“Shifting Language Registers in Late Qing/Republican China” workshop, Montreal, August 2010

> “Disparate Registers, Different Readers? What Language Suggests about Funü shibao’s Readerly and Writerly Communities”
Joan Judge presentation
“Shifting Language Registers in Late Qing/Republican China” workshop, Montreal, August 2010

> “Fragmentary Reflections of a Changing Republican Culture: A Visual Reading of Funü zazhi (1915-1931)”, “Shifting Language Registers in Late Qing/Republican China.”
Julia Andrews presentation
“Shifting Language Registers in Late Qing/Republican China” workshop, Montreal, August 2010

> "History and Herstory: New (Wo)Men and the Language of Women’s Magazines in (late Qing and) Republican China"
Barbara Mittler presentation
“Shifting Language Registers in Late Qing/Republican China” workshop, Montreal, August 2010

> Portraits of Republican Ladies: Materiality and Representation in the Photographs from Funü shibao (The Women’s Eastern Times)
Joan Judge presentation at the 'Moving Forward: Gender and Chinese History | A Colloquium in Honor of the Retirement of Professor Susan Mann
University Of California, Davis | May 2010

> Gender and Cultural Production: A New Approach to Chinese Women's Journals in the Early 20th Century
Joan Judge, Grace Fong, Barbara Mittler, Michel Hockx, and Liying Sun presented a roundtable on the project at the Annual Association of Asian Studies Meeting in Philadelphia. Julia Andrews will contribute comments from the floor.

In conjunction with the meeting, all attendees will hold a first workshop on the language of the women’s journals. An invited speaker, Professor Theodore Huters who is currently researching the complexities of the shift from the classical to the vernacular language in early 20th century China will address the group.
Annual Associate of Asian Studies Meeting, Philadelphia, United States | March 2010

> Von grossen Händen und Kleinen Füßen: Frauen in China heute (Of Large Hands and Small Feet: Women in China Today)
Barbara Mittler presentation
Karl Friedrich Gymnasium Mannheim | 24 March 2010

> Women and Scandal in Early Modern Chinese Literature: The Journal Meiyu (Eyebrow Talk, 1914-1916)
Seminar by M. Hockx and L. Sun on the journal Meiyu (Eyebrow Talk). Meiyu was founded in Shanghai in 1914 and banned by government decree in 1916. It was among the earliest modern literary journals to have a female editor and to feature contributions by a relatively large number of women authors.
Centre of Chinese Studies | School of Oriental and African Studies | University of London | 9 March 2010

> Transboundary Bodies: Eunuchs and the Making of (Event) History in China 
Barbara Mittler presentation
Transcultural bodies - Transboundary biographies conference | New Delhi, India | 21-25 February 2010   

> Images, Realities and Powers:  Gender Interactions in China’s Vernacular Media, 1909-1939
Barbara Mittler paper prepared for the workshop, ‘The Way I see It’—Transcultural Perspectives on Image, Gaze and Perception under the auspices of the Cluster ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context–Shifting Asymmetries in Cultural Flows’
University of Heidelberg | 29 January 2010  

More presentations and events...


Related Links:
> “Mobile Subjects: Women’s Education and Transformations in Travel Writing in the Late Qing and Early Republic.” Institute of Chinese Studies Visiting Professor Lecture Series (II), Journal of Chinese Studies Special Issue (2009): 181-201.

> Archiving Mothers and Fathers of the Nation (Hrsg. Gemeinsam mit Christiane Brosius, Sumathi Ramaswamy und Thomas Maissen, unter Mitarbeit von Michael Mohr, Sebastian Gehrig, Catherine Bublatzky, Eric Decker und Matthias Arnold)

> Nanxiu Qian, Grace S. Fong, and Richard J. Smith (eds.) (2008). Different Worlds of Discourse: Transformations of Gender and Genre in Late Qing and Early Republican China. Leiden: Brill.

> Women's Magazines from the Republican Period at the Institute of Chinese Studies, Heidelberg University, Germany

> Faculty of Arts researchers among beneficiaries of SSHRC funding. Y-File, York University, 18 September 2008.

> A career inspired by 3,000-year-old bones. Y-File, York University, 3 June 2008.

> Frauenzeitschriften heute (Hrsg. Von Barbara Mittler, mit studentischen Beiträgen aus einem Hauptseminar im WS 2004/05),

> Frauenzeitschriften der Republikzeit am Sinologischen Seminar in Heidelberg (Hrsg. von Barbara Mittler, mit studentischen Beiträgen aus einem Hauptseminar im SS 2003)


For more information, please contact Professor Joan Judge at judge@yorku.ca

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