This accessible text provides a comprehensive survey of women's history in China from the Neolithic period through the end of the Qing dynasty in the early twentieth century. Rather than providing an exhaustive chronicle of this vast subject, Bret Hinsch pinpoints the themes that characterized distinct periods in Chinese women's history and delves into the perception of female identity in each era. Moving beyond the traditional focus on the late imperial era, Hinsch explores how gender relations have developed and changed since ancient times. His chronological look at the most important female roles in every major dynasty showcases not only the constraints women faced but also their vast accomplishments throughout the millennia. Hinsch's extensive use of Chinese-language scholarship lends his book a fresh perspective rare among Western scholars. Professors and students will find this an invaluable textbook for Chinese women's studies and an excellent supplement for courses in gender studies and Chinese history.
Bret Hinsch is professor of history at Fo Guang University, Taiwan.
Major Chinese Dynasties Preface Chapter 1: Ancient Beginnings: Prehistory, Shang, and Zhou Dynasties Chapter 2: Womanhood under Empire: Qin and Han Dynasties Chapter 3: Order Out of Chaos: The Early Medieval Era Chapter 4: An Era of Effervescence: Tang Dynasty Chapter 5: The Great Transition: Song Dynasty Chapter 6: Explorations and Restraints: Ming Dynasty Chapter 7: Pondering Possibilities: Qing Dynasty Conclusion Glossary Bibliography Index About the Author