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Body, Subject, and Power in China

For the first time, this volume brings to the study of China the theoretical concerns and methods of contemporary critical cultural studies. Written by historians, art historians, anthropologists, and literary critics who came of age after the People’s Republic resumed scholarly ties with the United States, these essays yield valuable new insights not only for China studies but also, by extension, for non-Asian cultural criticism.

Contributors investigate problems of bodiliness, engendered subjectivities, and discourses of power through a variety of sources that include written texts, paintings, buildings, interviews, and observations. Taken together, the essays show that bodies in China have been classified, represented, discussed, ritualized, gendered, and eroticized in ways as rich and multiple as those described in critical histories of the West. Silk robes, rocks, winds, gestures of bowing, yin yang hierarchies, and cross-dressing have helped create experiences of the body specific to Chinese historical life. By pointing to multiple examples of reimagining subjectivity and renegotiating power, the essays encourage scholars to avoid making broad generalizations about China and to rethink traditional notions of power, subject, and bodiliness in light of actual Chinese practices. Body, Subject, and Power in China is at once an example of the changing face of China studies and a work of importance to the entire discipline of cultural studies.

316 pages | 14 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 1994

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Asian Studies: East Asia

Culture Studies

Table of Contents

Introduction: Body, Subject, and Power in China
Angela Zito, Tani E. Barlow.
1: The Imagination of Winds and the Development of the Chinese Conception of the Body
Shigehisa Kuriyama
2: The Body Invisible in Chinese Art?
John Hay
3: Multiplicity, Point of View, and Responsibility in Traditional Chinese Healing
Judith Farquhar
4: Silk and Skin: Significant Boundaries
Angela Zito
5: The Politicized Body
Ann Anagnost
6: The Female Body and Nationalist Discourse: Manchuria in Xiao Hong’s Field of Life and Death
Lydia H. Liu
7: Sovereignty and Subject: Constituting Relationships of Power in Qing Guest Ritual
James L. Hevia
8: (Re)inventing Li: Koutou and Subjectification in Rural Shandong
Andrew Kipnis
9: The Classic "Beauty-Scholar" Romance and the Superiority of the Talented Woman
Keith McMahon
10: Theorizing Woman: Funu, Guojia, Jiating
Tani E. Barlow
Glossary of Chinese Characters
List of Contributors

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