(Inter)disciplining Chinese Women (Arend, 2000)


While Western feminists and Women’s Studies scholars often focus on China’s one child population policy as the most critical issue for women in China today, it is clear from this literature that the policy is not the primary concern or impetus for Chinese Women’s Studies scholars themselves, or at least not for these women writing about the(ir) new discipline. Rather, the majority focus on the complicated relationship between the emergence of contemporary Women’s Studies in China and the economic reform of the post-Mao era (1978-present). Exploring the tensions, assumptions, and theories involved in these ideas reveals the themes of importance in this literature. Language, women and the state, economic reform and the history of Women’s Studies in China are particularly significant. Yet, these themes are not discrete, but are interpenetrating and inseparable in this rich, provocative, and inspiring literature. Following a discussion of these four themes is a concise list of important dates in the recent history of Women’s Studies in China and a substantive annotation for each text reviewed.