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Title:Charitable women from mercantile literati families: women and public culture in late Qing China
Author(s):Peng, Shiyue
Advisor(s):Chow, Kai-wing
Contributor(s):Shao, Dan; Tierney, Robert Thomas
Department / Program:E. Asian Languages & Cultures
Discipline:E Asian Languages & Cultures
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Mercantile Literati
Public Culture
Late Qing China
Abstract:My thesis investigates women’s charitable activities in the late Qing period. Founding and operating private organizations or cooperating with the Qing government, the mercantile literati played a major role in public charity. The scope and types of charity women were involved, however, changed after 1898. By examining two types of charitable activities before the Hundred-Day Reform in 1898—establishing charitable institutions and participating in charity relief for disaster victims, I argue that charitable women were mostly from mercantile literati (shishang士商) families and women’s charitable activities were an integral part of mercantile literati’s public culture. After 1898, the meaning of traditional charity was gradually transformed from acts of personal virtues, mutual-aid, and staging of social status into concerns for public and national interests. Women’s charity expanded to provide services and assistance related to the promotion of public interests, which involved providing services, funding, and training concerning women’s civil education, public charity, local self-government, vocation skills, patriotism, and recovering railway rights. By analyzing the cases of women’s involvement in founding schools and organizations to promote public and national interests in this period, I argue that, like talented women since the late Ming who transcended the boundary between the inner chamber and the public realm as writers and teachers, these charitable women also transgressed the inner/outer division through participating and founding organizations of charity and later new organizations for the promotion of public and national interests.
Issue Date:2021-07-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Shiyue Peng
Date Available in IDEALS:2022-01-12
Date Deposited:2021-08

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