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Keeping the Nation's House: Domestic Management and the Making of Modern China (Contemporary Chinese Studies)

ISBN: 9780774819985
Publisher: UBC Press
Publication Date: 2012-01-24
Number of pages: 46
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Keeping the Nation’s House unsettles the assumption that home economics training lies far from the seats of power by revealing how elite Chinese women helped to build modern China one family at a time. Trained between the 1920s and the early 1950s, home economists did not believe that a clear line separated the private (nei) from the public (wai). They believed that the home economics courses taught in centres of higher learning would transform the most fundamental of political spaces -- the home -- by teaching women to nurture ideal families and manage projects of social reform for a strong, modern China. Although their discipline came undone after 1949, it created a legacy of gendered professionalism and reinforced the idea that leaders should shape domestic rituals of the people.

By focusing on the vision and aspirations of the women who shaped a discipline, this book offers a gendered perspective on the past and reveals how women intellectuals dealt with the transition from the Nationalist to the Communist era.

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