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Title:The politics and identity of fashion changes in early-twentieth century China
Author(s):Wang, Lu
Advisor(s):Shao, Dan
Department / Program:E. Asian Languages & Cultures
Discipline:East Asian Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Republic of China
public discourse
state power
Abstract:Incorporating gender as a category of historical analysis, this article will take a look at the debate on the symbolic meaning of women’s fashion in early-twentieth century China. Women’s fashion has been perceived as an important site of normative prescription in Chinese history. In the beginning of the twentieth-century, China was beleaguered by the threat of foreign invasion, territorial loss, economic depression, a collapsing empire and the pressing need for industrialization and modernization. The task of women’s emancipation was at the core of the ideological attack on the traditional Confucian patriarchal system, which is said to have confined women to the inner chambers. Regulating women’s dressing and transforming how women present their body formed an integral part of the attack on feudalism and Chinese tradition. The Chinese approach to modernization created a discourse of liberal conservatism that fuses modernity appearance with a tradition core. Although women’s emancipation was much eulogized during the revolutionary period, the discourse was more often used as an ideological weapon for political purposes of nation-building and modernization. On the other hand, through public debates on fashion reforms, many female writers were using fashion as a site of contention and negotiation to express their own understanding of tradition, modernity, and nationalism.
Issue Date:2019-04-26
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Lu Wang
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23
Date Deposited:2019-05

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