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Analyzing visual representation of Chinese women in the popular media over a span of 60 years, this talk explores the concealed and erased history of socialist state feminist endeavors in socialist revolution and demonstrates drastic changes in gender norms and practices in the state’s embracing of global capitalism. Given the widespread notions about “CCP propaganda” or “Maoist gender discourse” that always assume an authorship of a faceless patriarchal Party state authority, this talk will bring feminist producers of gendered “propaganda” back to the historical process to highlight socialist feminist transformation of a patriarchal culture. Changes in visual representation signify changed power relations of gender and class, changed constitution of gender and class subjectivities, as well as changed nature of the state. The talk is based on Prof. Wang’s new book Finding Women in the State: A Socialist Feminist Revolution in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-1964 (UC Press, 2016), which presents the first investigation of high politics in the CCP from a gender perspective.
WANG Zheng is Professor of Women's Studies and History and Research Scientist at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at University of Michigan. She is the author of Finding Women in the State: A Socialist Feminist Revolution in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-1964; Women in the Chinese Enlightenment: Oral and Textual Histories, and the coeditor of From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society; Translating Feminisms in China; and Some of Us: Chinese Women Growing Up in the Mao Era.