2013-2014 School of Chinese Staff Seminar
Discussion about Women Writers’ “Female Subjectivity” in the Ming Dynasty
王茁博士 Dr Wang Zhuo
Date and Time: May 16, 2014 (Friday); 5:30-6:45pm
Venue: Room 730 Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
As anthologies written by women of the Ming and Qing dynasties have excavated in recent years, researchers pioneered by western scholars have interpreted these writings and women’s cultural life comprehensively. Since women have become the subject of writing, “female subjectivity” has been iterated overtly or covertly in previous scholarship. For instance, in both Teachers of Inner Chambers and Precious Records, women writers were portrayed as active participants of women’s culture. However, contemporary concepts cannot fully explain the complexity and characteristics of traditional Chinese society. This talk analyses the background and meaning of women writers’ writing as well as the ambiguity of “female subjectivity”, with a focus on three representative women writers of the Ming dynasty – Xu Yuan, Wang Duanshu and Gu Ruopu. It argues that apart from the signification of gender subjectivity, writing could also be a tool for fame and gain, a means to preserve history, and a personal hobby after fulfilling women’s duty.