ANTH 328 A: Gender and Sexuality in China

Meeting Time: 
MW 10:30am - 12:20pm
Location: 
CMU 120
SLN: 
10284
Joint Sections: 
GWSS 328 A, JSIS A 328 A
Instructor:
photo of sasha Welland
Sasha Welland

Syllabus Description:

This is an interdisciplinary course cross-listed in three departments: Anthropology (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (ANTH), Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (GWSS), and China Studies (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. through the Jackson School for International Studies (JSIS).

GENDER & SEXUALITY IN CHINA 

MW 10:30am -12:20pm
CMU 120

Instructor: Professor Sasha Welland (Links to an external site.)
Office: Padelford Hall B-110P
Office Hours: Mondays 1-3 pm | sign-up
Email: swelland@uw.edu*

Teaching Assistants:

Yiyu Tian (Sections AB and AD)
Office: Padelford Hall B-111
Office Hours: Wednesdays 9:15-10:15 am & by appt.
Email: yiyut@uw.edu

Yingyi Wang (Sections AA and AC)
Office: Padelford Hall B-111
Office Hours: Mondays 12:30-1:30 pm & by appt.
Email: syywang@uw.edu

*Please note: Every effort will be made to respond to email within 72 hours. 

LeiYan_WhatIf.jpgArtwork: Lei Yan, What If They Had Been Women, Digital Photograph, 2002

Course Description

This course provides a comprehensive survey of gender and sexuality as key aspects of China’s process of modernization, from the late Qing dynasty through the building of the Republic, Communist revolution, and post-Mao economic reform. It examines, through historical, anthropological, and cultural studies scholarship, the centrality of these social constructs in terms of family, state, labor, body, and ethnicity. The course focuses on Mainland China, but there are opportunities for students through course assignments to broaden this field of inquiry to Greater China, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other diasporic areas of Sinophone cultural formation.

For students of Chinese history and culture, the course introduces important scholarship that has transformed the field. While gender and sexuality were once considered marginal pursuits in the study of China, they are now seen as central to the development of the modern Chinese nation-state, revolutionary politics, and post-socialist opening to transnational capitalism, as well as everyday experiences of family, work, and politics.

For students of anthropology, the course offers an exploration of gender and sexuality as significant dimensions in understanding culture and power and argues for the importance of historical change and transnational encounter in what might seem like culturally specific, stable categories of social life.

For students of gender and sexuality, the course provides an extensive non-Western case study of the social construction of these categories; feminist thought and movements; and the articulations and tensions between local and transnational influences in shaping normativizing ideologies, resistances, and struggles for social justice. 

Course Objectives

  • To understand the centrality of gender and sexuality in modern Chinese history, sociocultural formation, and processes of change. (close reading, listening, and comprehension)
  • To examine, in a non-Western context, the cultural specificity of gender and sexuality as social constructs that shape ideologies and experiences of family, state, labor, body, and ethnicity. (close reading, listening, and comprehension)
  • To examine how transnational encounters shape these social constructs; and how the “local” and “global” interact and influence each other in producing and challenging powerful norms. (close reading, listening, and comprehension)
  • To explore how these constructs are made, maintained, and modified at the macro and micro level, and their implications in power relations and struggles for social justice. (analytic and writing skills)
  • To engage in a deep and sustained interdisciplinary conversation about gender, sexuality, culture, power, history, and change. To learn from each other’s expertise in cultural critique, gender analysis, and Chinese history and culture. (collaboration skills)

COURSE TEXTS

EReadings: Book chapters and articles marked with in the syllabus are available through the Canvas course site. They can be found in Files and are organized by week. Books listed with the annotation (eBook) and linked below are available as electronic books through the University of Washington Libraries (UW NetID required).

Books: Available at The University Bookstore and requested for 2-hour reserve at Odegaard Library.

  • Gail Hershatter. Women and China’s Revolutions. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019.
  • Lydia H. Liu, Rebecca E. Karl, Dorothy Ko, eds. The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.
  • Sasha Su-Ling Welland. A Thousand Miles of Dreams: The Journeys of Two Chinese Sisters. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. (eBook) [Chinese translation《家国梦影:凌叔华与凌淑浩》has also been requested. Warning: Due to printing oversight (or censorship), this version is missing most of Chapter 17. You can access it in Files>Week 5>Supplemental Readings>Chinese or here.]

Course ReservesThe following books may be helpful for reference or research. They have been requested for reserve at Odegaard Undergraduate Library, with a 2-hour loan period. 

Please also check out the Chinese History Resources page.

Films: The following films will be shown in class (in part or in full). They are on reserve, with a 2-hour loan period, for viewing at the Media Arcade in Allen Library. Those available for online streaming through the UW Libraries are linked below.

  • Daughters of China (Zhonghua nüer 中华女儿), Director: Ling Zifeng, China: Bandao yingxiang chubanshe, [1949] 2005.
  • Goddess (Shennü 神女), Director: Wu Yonggang, Shanghai: Lianhua Film Studios, [1934] 2003.
  • Hooligan Sparrow, Directed by: Nanfu Wang, New York: Kino Lorber, 2016.
  • Queer China, Comrade China (Zhi tongzhi 志同志), Director: Cui Zi’en, New York: DGenerate Films, 2009.

Assignments & Evaluation

Each student’s performance will be evaluated as follows:

Class Participation: 10%
Short Essays (2 total, 20% each): 40%
Collaborative Research Project & Discussion Facilitation20%
Final Reflection Paper: 30%

Grading Criteria:*

4.0 – achievement outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements
3.0 – achievement significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements
2.0 – achievement meeting the basic course requirements in every respect
1.0 – achievement worthy of credit that does not meet basic course requirements

*The course uses the GWSS departmental grading scale.

Class Participation: Active, prepared participation in each class session is a requirement of this course. Attendance, a pre-requisite of participation, is therefore critical. Students are expected to complete the readings by the daythey are listed in the syllabus and to discuss them in an exchange of questions, explanations, and viewpoints about readings and key ideas. For each class meeting, please have notes written and ready to draw from for the basis of discussion. Please bring the assigned texts to class each day so that you can refer to them. If you are using electronic versions of the texts, you still need to develop a note-taking method and make sure you have easy access to them in class. Reading and contributing to your discussion section board constitute part of your class participation, and you should post at least one substantive comment or question per week.

Short Essays: You will write two (4 page/1,000 words) responses. Prompts will be given one week in advance and will ask you to reflect critically on lectures and assigned readings in relation to the wider themes of the course as stated in the objectives section above. Good essays will demonstrate close and careful reading of the assigned materials, an ability to integrate readings with lectures and issues raised in class and section discussion, and an analysis of how these materials matter in how we understand gender, sexuality, culture, power, history, and change. A grading rubric will be provided.

Collaborative Research Project & Discussion Facilitation: The TAs will work with you in discussion section to create small cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural groups of 2-3 students. (I will also ask you on occasion to work in your small groups in the large class meetings.) Each group will then sign up in advance for a week focused on a topic you would like to explore in greater depth. You will do research that involves finding one additional primary-source and one secondary-source document relevant to the topic. Several weeks already have suggested supplemental readings or films provided in the Canvas course site files. The reference books on reserve are another good place to start. I am also happy to talk with you and give suggestions after class or during office hours. Please do not just do an uninformed internet search! You will collaboratively write an essay (4 pages/1,000 word) that reflects your perspectives on these research materials, links them to course readings and discussions, and sparks discussion among your peers. This essay will be submitted as an assignment and should be posed on the course discussion board at least one day before your facilitation day. In discussion section, you will give a short presentation and then launch discussion with questions of your own combined with those posted on the discussion board. A handout with further guidance on this assignment will be distributed early in the quarter.

Final Reflection Paper: You will write a final paper (6-8 page/1,500-2,000 word) reflecting upon what your learned over the course of the quarter, with a focus on the last three weeks of readings. A handout with prompts to choose from will be distributed on the last day of class.

LEARNING RESPONSIBILITIES

Classroom Community: This is your education. Make the most of it. You are learning from the course materials, the professor, the teaching assistants, and from each other—across cultural backgrounds, language proficiencies, and disciplinary knowledge. I expect that you may have different viewpoints and perhaps even strong feeling about certain topics discussed in class. I also expect you to listen to each other with respect, interest, and attentiveness. Interacting in an informed way requires responsibility to yourself and others to keep up with the readings so that you can contribute to the best of your abilities in class. It also means doing the work agreed upon in collaborative work so that your partners are not forced to pick up your slack; and being assertive about a group member who may be slacking.

Technology: Please turn cell phones and all alerts off or on vibrate during class so that you can devote your full attention to lecture and discussion and provide a distraction-free learning environment. Students may use laptops or tablets to take notes and/or refer to readings, but demonstrate respect for the classroom by refraining from any other activity. YES, that means no texting or social media!

Late Assignment Policy & Communication: With great exception in the case of documented illness or emergency, no late assignments are accepted. Please feel free to speak with me or your TA for further clarification of assignments or if you have questions about course materials. We make every effort to respond to email within 72 hours. Students who have lengthy or complex questions should meet with us during office hours.

Writing Centers

Grading and Academic Conduct

Policies, Rules, Resources

Health and Wellness Resources

What can I do with a GWSS Degree?

Schedule & Readings

Week 1

M    01/07

Introductions

  • Introduction to course
  • TA introductions
  • Student introductions

 

 

 

 

 

W   01/09

Gender Across Time and Space

Week 2

M    01/14

The Gendered Labor of Empire, 1800-1840; Disturbances, 1840-1900

  • Gail Hershatter, Women and China’s Revolutions, Intro; Chapters 1-2

 

W   01/16

 

Revolutionary Currents, 1895-1912

  • Gail Hershatter, Women and China’s Revolutions, Chapter 3
  • OF INTEREST: New York Times 2018 “Overlooked” Obituary for Qiu Jin
  • Lydia Liu, Rebecca Karl, and Dorothy Ko, eds., The Birth of Chinese Feminism, pp. 1-26.

Week 3

M    01/21

Chinese Feminist Worlds and Theory

  • MLK Day: No class, but in the pursuit of transnational social justice via He-Yin Zhen’s anarcho-feminist theorizing, please keep reading…
  • Lydia Liu, Rebecca Karl, and Dorothy Ko, eds., The Birth of Chinese Feminism, pp. 27-48.

 

W    01/23

Chinese Feminist Worlds and Theory

  • Lydia Liu, Rebecca Karl, and Dorothy Ko, eds., The Birth of Chinese Feminism, pp. 50-146. [Read in-depth: One essay of your choice + “On the Revenge of Women, Part I”; skim the remaining two essays]
  • SUGGESTED for students who read Chinese: Original Chinese texts of those that appear in translation in The Birth of Chinese Feminism R
  • PAPER PROMPT #1 DISTRIBUTED

Week 4

M     01/28

Feminism and the “Woman Question”: Female and Male Voices

  • Lydia Liu, Rebecca Karl, and Dorothy Ko, eds., The Birth of Chinese Feminism, pp. 147-285. [Read in-depth: One He-Yin Zhen essay of your choice + “On Women’s Education” and “The Women’s Bell”; skim the remaining two He-Yin Zhen essays]
  • SUGGESTED for students who read Chinese: Original Chinese texts of those that appear in translation in The Birth of Chinese Feminism R

W    01/30

Tracing Women’s Lives Through History and Story

  • Sasha Welland, A Thousand Miles of Dreams, Part I, pp. 17-73 [Chinese translation]
  • PAPER #1 DUE

Week 5

M     02/04

May Fourth Aspirations

  • Sasha Welland, A Thousand Miles of Dreams, Part II, pp. 77-186

 

W    02/06

Gender, War, Diaspora

Week 6

M     02/11

Imagined Futures, 1912-27; Regulatory Regimes, 1928-37

  • Gail Hershatter, Women and China’s Revolutions, Chapters 4-5
  • Excerpts from FILM (in-class): Goddess (Shennü 神女), Director: Wu Yonggang, Shanghai: Lianhua Film Studios, 1934. (Also on reserve at the Media Arcade in Allen Library.)

 

W    02/13

Sex and Modernity

  • Madeleine Yue Dong, “Who Is Afraid of the Chinese Modern Girl?” in The Modern Girl Around the World: Consumption, Modernity, and Globalization (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008), 195-219. R
  • Wenqing Kang, “Introduction” and “Sexology” in Obsession: Male Same-Sex Relations in China, 1900-1950 (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2009), 1-18; 41-59. R
  • Excerpt from FILM (in class): Queer China, Comrade China (Zhi tongzhi 志同志), Director: Cui Zi’en, New York: DGenerate Films, 2009. (Also on reserve at the Media Arcade in Allen Library and available online.)

Week 7

M     02/18

Wartime Women, 1928-41

  • Presidents’ Day: No class, but please read…
  • Gail Hershatter, Women and China’s Revolutions, Chapter 6

 

W    02/20

Wartime Women, 1935-49; The Socialist Construction of Women, 1949-78

  • Gail Hershatter, Women and China’s Revolutions, Chapters 7-8
  • PAPER PROMPT #2 DISTRIBUTED

Week 8

M     02/25

Feminism, Sexuality, and the State: Politics of Concealment and Erasure

 

W    02/27

Capitalized Women, 1978-

Week 9

 

M     03/04

 

 

Gender, Sexuality, and Ethnicity

 

W    03/06

Chinese Queer Life and Theory

Week 10

 

M     03/11

Female Same-Sex Desire and Lala Communities

  • Xin Huang, “I Am a Rock: Shitou’s Life Story,” in The Gender Legacy of the Mao Era: Women’s Life Stories in Contemporary China (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2018): 121-70. R
  • Excerpt from FILM (in class): We Are Here (Women zai zheli 我们在这里), Directed by: Jing Zhao and Shi Tou, Beijing: les+, 2015.
  • Lucetta Yip Lo Kam, “Lala Communities in the Shaping,” Shanghai Lalas: Female Tongzhi Communities and Politics in Urban China (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2015), 19-37. R

 

W    03/13

Feminist Activism

  • Wang Zheng, “Detention of the Feminist Five in China,” Feminist Studies 41(2): 476-82. R
  • Leta Hong Fincher, “A Song for All Women,” in Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China (New York: Verso, 2018), 187-205. R
  • FILM SCREENING (in class): Hooligan Sparrow, Directed by: Nanfu Wang, New York: Kino Lorber, 2016. (Also on reserve at the Media Arcade in Allen Library and available online.)
  • FINAL PAPER PROMPT DISTRIBUTED

Finals Week

M     03/18

DUE: Final Reflection Paper

Catalog Description: 
Explores gender and sexuality in China's process of modernization, form the late Qing dynasty through the building of the Republic, Communist revolution, and post-Mao economic reform. Examines, through historical, anthropological, and cultural studies scholarship, the centrality of these social constructs I terms of family, sate, labor, body, and ethnicity. Offered: jointly with GWSS 328/JSIS A 328.
GE Requirements: 
Diversity (DIV)
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
February 18, 2019 - 9:00pm