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Title:Visualized gender and gendered visuality: Love, marriage, and labor in contemporary Chinese women’s visual culture
Author(s):Yao, LingLing
Director of Research:Tierney, Robert; Shao, Dan
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Tierney, Robert
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Capino, José; Chow, Kai-Wing; Weissman, Terri
Department / Program:E. Asian Languages & Cultures
Discipline:E Asian Languages & Cultures
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):women's studies
visual culture
Abstract:Feminism was long sidelined as a bourgeois ideology in Communist China and has never fully recovered as the leading apparatus for female empowerment. Chinese women have made tremendous progress under the leadership of the Communist Party, but at the same time faced unprecedented challenges in contemporary Chinese society where social welfare for women is increasingly marketized. How do Chinese women empower themselves when transitioning first to a planned economy and then to a market economy? My dissertation project studies women’s empowerment stories through the cultural works of four women visual professionals each representing the zeitgeist of her era. Methodologically, I break the conventional artistic boundaries by using visual culture as the new umbrella term. I have utilized fieldwork in Beijing and interviews with artists in Beijing, Paris, and Washington D.C. In addition, I have drawn a wide range of theories liberally in order to best analyze theory-informed contemporary visual culture. Through close examinations of the women’s world represented in the visual works of Dong Kena, Li Shuang, Xiao Lu, and Cui Xiuwen, the dissertation reveals that productive work is a great empowering tool for women across different sociopolitical contexts in Communist China, that women turn to sisterhood for female empowerment, often disappointed at its limitation and even betrayal, and that women artists in the new millennium turn to spirituality to seek personal and artistic empowerment. The dissertation recognizes the many challenges facing Chinese feminism but nevertheless concludes optimistically regarding the alliance of spirituality and feminism and its empowering potentiality.
Issue Date:2019-04-17
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Lingling Yao
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23
Date Deposited:2019-05

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