Underneath the grandeur of empires, war, revolutions, history eventually is about people’s life. This seminar explores how the boundaries of private life in China intersect with the public arena and how such an intersection has significantly re-shaped Chinese private life between the 16th century and the present. The first half of the seminar will explore how the private realm in late imperial China was defined and construed by Confucian discourses, architectural design, moral regulation, cultural consumption, and social network. Moving into the twentieth century, the remaining part of the seminar will examine how the advent of novel concepts such as modernity and revolution restructured the private realm, particularly in regard to the subtopics outlined above. Organizing questions include: How did female chastity become the center of a public cult which then changed the life paths of countless families? How did the practice of female foot-binding intersect with marriage choices, household economy, and social status? How did print culture create a new space for gentry women to negotiate the boundaries between their inner quarters and the outside world? What was the ideal and reality of married life in late imperial China? How did people’s life change when the collective pursuit for Chinese modernity placed romantic love, freedom to marry and divorce at the center of public debates? How was “Shanghai modern” related to the emerging middle class life style as evidenced in advertisement posters? How has the ideal of gender equality been re-interpreted and realized under the Communist regime? How have the current market reforms reformulated the contours of private life in China?
Day and Time: 
M 0200PM-0500PM
Cross Listings: