The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory (Weatherhead Books on Asia)

October 30, 2020
The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory (Weatherhead Books on Asia)

He-Yin Zhen (ca. 1884-1920?) was a theorist who figuredcentrally in the birth of Chinese feminism. Unlike hercontemporaries, she was concerned less with China's fate as anation and more with the relationship among patriarchy,imperialism, capitalism, and gender subjugation as globalhistorical problems. This volume, the first translation and studyof He-Yin's work in English, critically reconstructs earlytwentieth-century Chinese feminist thought in a transnationalcontext by juxtaposing He-Yin Zhen's writing against works by twobetter-known male interlocutors of her time.The editors begin with a detailed analysis of He-Yin Zhen's lifeand thought. They then present annotated translations of six of hermajor essays, as well as two foundational tracts by her malecontemporaries, Jin Tianhe (1874-1947) and Liang Qichao(1873–1929), to which He-Yin's work responds and with which itengages. Jin, a poet and educator, and Liang, a philosopher andjournalist, understood feminism as a paternalistic cause thatliberals like themselves should defend. He-Yin presents analternative conception that draws upon anarchism and other radicaltrends. Ahead of her time, He-Yin Zhen complicates conventionalaccounts of feminism and China's history, offering originalperspectives on sex, gender, labor, and power that remain relevanttoday.