GWSS 328 A: Gender and Sexuality in China

Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 4:20pm
Location: 
CMU 120
SLN: 
21514
Joint Sections: 
ANTH 328 A, JSIS A 328 A
Instructor:
Sasha Su-Ling Welland

Syllabus Description:

GENDER & SEXUALITY IN CHINA 

MW 2:30-4:20**
CMU 120

Instructor: Professor Sasha Welland (Links to an external site.)
Office: Padelford Hall B-110P
Office Hours: Tuesdays 3:00-4:30 pm
Email: swelland@uw.edu*

Teaching Assistants:

alma khasawnih (Sections AA and AB)
Office: Padelford Hall B-111
Office Hours: Wednesdays 1:00-2:00 pm & by appt. on M, W, F
Email: almak@uw.edu

Yingyi Wang (Sections AC and AD)
Office: Padelford Hall B-111
Office Hours: Wednesdays 5:00-6:00 pm & by appt.
Email: syywang@uw.edu

*Please note: Every effort will be made to respond to email within 72 hours. 
**With exceptions on 4/5, 4/24, and 5/3. See schedule for details.
 

LeiYan_WhatIf.jpgArtwork: Lei Yan, What If They Had Been Women, Digital Photograph, 2002

Course Description

This course provides a comprehensive survey of gender and sexuality as key aspects of China’s process of modernization, from the late Qing dynasty through the building of the Republic, Communist revolution, and post-Mao economic reform. It examines, through historical, anthropological, and cultural studies scholarship, the centrality of these social constructs in terms of family, state, labor, body, and ethnicity. The course focuses on Mainland China, but there are opportunities for students through course assignments to broaden this field of inquiry to Greater China, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other diasporic areas of Sinophone cultural formation.

For students of Chinese history and culture, the course introduces important scholarship that has transformed the field. While gender and sexuality were once considered marginal pursuits in the study of China, they are now seen as central to the development of the modern Chinese nation-state, revolutionary politics, and post-socialist opening to transnational capitalism, as well as everyday experiences of family, work, and politics.

For students of anthropology, the course offers an exploration of gender and sexuality as significant dimensions in understanding culture and power and argues for the importance of historical change and transnational encounter in what might seem like culturally specific, stable categories of social life.

For students of gender and sexuality, the course provides an extensive non-Western case study of the social construction of these categories; feminist thought and movements; and the articulations and tensions between local and transnational influences in shaping normativizing ideologies, resistances, and struggles for social justice. 

Course Objectives

  • To understand the centrality of gender and sexuality in modern Chinese history, sociocultural formation, and processes of change. (close reading, listening, and comprehension)
  • To examine, in a non-Western context, the cultural specificity of gender and sexuality as social constructs that shape ideologies and experiences of family, state, labor, body, and ethnicity. (close reading, listening, and comprehension)
  • To examine how transnational encounters shape these social constructs; and how the “local” and “global” interact and influence each other in producing and challenging powerful norms. (close reading, listening, and comprehension)
  • To explore how these constructs are made, maintained, and modified at the macro and micro level, and their implications in power relations and struggles for social justice. (analytic and writing skills)
  • To engage in a deep and sustained interdisciplinary conversation about gender, sexuality, culture, power, history, and change. To learn from each other’s expertise in cultural critique, gender analysis, and Chinese history and culture. (collaboration skills)

Course Texts

EReserves: Book chapters and articles marked with R in the syllabus are available through the Canvas course site. They can be found in Files and are organized week by week. Books listed with the annotation (eBook) are available as electronic books through the University of Washington Libraries (UW NetID required).

Books: Available at The University Bookstore and requested for 4-hour reserve at Odegaard Library.

  • Susan L. Mann, Gender & Sexuality in Modern Chinese History
  • Lydia H. Liu, Rebecca E. Karl, Dorothy Ko, The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory
  • Wang Zheng, Finding Women in the State: A Socialist Feminist Revolution in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-1964
  • Lisa Rofel, Other Modernities: Gendered Yearnings in China

The following reference books may be helpful for your section presentation. All of them, except the titles available as eBooks, have been requested for reserve at Odegaard, with a 4-hour loan period.

  • Bryna Goodman and Wendy Larson, eds., Gender in Motion: Divisions of Labor and Cultural Change in Late Imperial and Modern China
  • Susan Brownell and Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, eds., Chinese Femininities, Chinese Masculinities (eBook)
  • Christina K. Gilmartin, Gail Hershatter, Lisa Rofel, and Tyrene White, eds., Engendering China: Women, Culture, and the State
  • Gail Hershatter, Emily Honig, Susan Mann, and Lisa Rofel, eds., Guide to Women’s Studies in China
  • Gail Hershatter, Women in China’s Long Twentieth Century (eBook)
  • Mayfair Mei-Hui Yang, ed., Spaces of Their Own: Women’s Public Sphere in Transnational China

Assignments & Evaluation

Each student’s performance will be evaluated as follows:

Class Participation: 10%
Short Essays (3 total, 20% each): 60%
Discussion Section Facilitation: 10%
Final Reflection Paper: 20%

Grading Criteria:

4.0 – achievement outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements
3.0 – achievement significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements
2.0 – achievement meeting the basic course requirements in every respect
1.0 – achievement worthy of credit that does not meet basic course requirements

Class Participation: Active, prepared participation in each class session is a requirement of this course. Attendance, a pre-requisite of participation, is therefore critical. Students are expected to complete the readings by the day they are listed in the syllabus and to discuss them in an exchange of questions, explanations, and viewpoints about readings and key ideas. For each class meeting, please have notes written and ready to draw from for the basis of discussion. Please bring the assigned texts to class each day so that you can refer to them. If you are using electronic versions of the texts, you still need to develop a note-taking method and make sure you have easy access to them in class. Reading and contributing to your discussion section board constitute part of your class participation, and you should post at least one comment or question per week.

Short Essays: You will write three (3-page/750 words) responses. Prompts will be given one week in advance and will ask you to reflect critically on lectures and assigned readings in relation to the wider themes of the course as stated in the objectives section above. Good essays will demonstrate close and careful reading of the assigned materials, an ability to integrate readings with lectures and issues raised in class and section discussion, and an analysis of how these materials matter in how we understand gender, sexuality, culture, power, history, and change. A grading rubric will be provided.

Discussion Section Facilitation: You will sign up in advance for a specific class period focused on a topic you would like to explore in greater depth. You will do research that involves finding at least one additional reading relevant to the topic. A few weeks already have suggested readings. The reference books on reserve are another good place to start. I am also happy to talk with you and give suggestions after class or during office hours. Please do not just do an uninformed internet search! At least one day before your facilitation day, post on the course discussion board a summary (2-pages/500 words) that does the following: 1) summarizes the main argument of the reading you selected; 2) identifies the evidence and support the author used to make that argument; 3) analyzes how your reading relates to the assigned readings for that day; 4) explains how what you learned extends or challenges your thinking in terms of other ANTH, GWSS, or JSISA courses you’ve taken as part of your course of study; and 5) sparks discussion among your peers by raising questions. Do this at least one class meeting before your facilitation day. In discussion section, you will give a short presentation reflection on your reading (approx. 10 min) and then launch discussion with questions of your own combined with those posted on the discussion board.

Final Reflection Paper: You will write a final paper (6-8 page/1,500-2,000 word) reflecting upon what your learned over the course of the quarter, with a focus on the last three weeks of readings. A handout with prompts to choose from will be distributed on the last day of class.

Class Policies: Extensions are granted only in cases of emergency with prior permission from the instructor. Assignments submitted late will be marked down one whole grade for every day they are late unless prior arrangements have been made. Please feel free to speak with me for further clarification of assignments or if you have questions about the materials. I make every effort to respond to email within 72 hours. Students who have lengthy or complex questions should meet with me during office hours.

Grading and Academic Conduct

Policies, Rules, Resources

Health and Wellness Resources

What can I do with a GWSS Degree?

Interdisciplinary Writing Studio

Schedule & Readings

Week 1

M 3/27 - Introductions

  • Introduction to course
  • TA introductions
  • Student introductions

W 3/29 - Gender, Sexuality, and the State

Week 2

M 4/3 - Gender, Sexuality, and the Body

  • Susan Mann, Gender and Sexuality in Modern Chinese History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), Part II: Gender, Sexuality, and the Body, pp. 83-134.

W 4/5 (2:30-3:20) - Body Politics

Week 3

M 4/10 - Feminism and the Women’s Movement

W 4/12 - Feminism and the Women’s Movement (cont.)

Week 4

M 4/17 - Sex and Modernity

W 4/19 - Modern Girl Around the World

Week 5 

M 4/24 (2:30-3:50) - The Women’s Federation and the Chinese Communist Party

  • Wang Zheng, Finding Women in the State: A Socialist Feminist Revolution in the People’s Republic of China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2017), Introduction and Chapters 1-3, pp. 1-111.
  • PAPER PROMPT #2 DISTRIBUTED

W 4/26 - The Women’s Federation (cont.) & Feminist Revolution of Culture

  • Wang Zheng, Finding Women in the State: A Socialist Feminist Revolution in the People’s Republic of China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2017), Introduction and Chapters 4-7, pp. 112-220.

Week 6

M 5/1 - From Feminist Revolution of Culture to the Cultural Revolution

W 5/3 (2:30-3:20) - Gendered Yearnings after Socialism

  • Lisa Rofel, Other Modernities: Gendered Yearnings in China after Socialism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), pp. 1-95.

Week 7

M 5/8 - Gendered Yearnings after Socialism

  • Lisa Rofel, Other Modernities: Gendered Yearnings in China after Socialism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), pp. 96-187.
  • PAPER PROMPT #3 DISTRIBUTED

W 5/10 - Labor across the Socialist-Post-Socialist Divide

  • Lisa Rofel, Other Modernities: Gendered Yearnings in China after Socialism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), pp. 188-284.

Week 8

M 5/15 - Rural-Urban/Local-Global Politics of Gender, Labor, and Sexuality

W 5/17 - Gender, Sexuality, and the Other

Week 9

M 5/22 - Chinese Queer Theory and Activism

W 5/24 - Lesbian Temporalities and Lala Communities

Week 10

M 5/29 - Memorial Day-No class

W 5/31 - Feminist Activism

Finals Week

M 6/5 - DUE: Final Reflection Paper 

Catalog Description: 
Explores gender and sexuality in China's process of modernization, form the late Qing dynasty through the building of the Republic, Communist revolution, and post-Mao economic reform. Examines, through historical, anthropological, and cultural studies scholarship, the centrality of these social constructs I terms of family, sate, labor, body, and ethnicity. Offered: jointly with ANTH 328/JSIS A 328.
GE Requirements: 
Diversity (DIV)
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:05pm