Crossing Boundaries and Confounding Identity

Chinese Women in Literature, Art, and Film

Edited by Cheryl C. D. Hughes

Subjects: Asian Studies, Asian Literature, Film Studies, Art, Chinese Religion And Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Asian Studies Development
Hardcover : 9781438492155, 280 pages, February 2023
Paperback : 9781438492148, 280 pages, August 2023

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Cheryl C. D. Hughes

Emma Jinhua Teng

1. Emily Georgiana Kemp: An Early Twentieth-Century Traveler’s Perspective on the Heart-Mind of China
Dona M. Cady

2. Women’s Agency at the Close of Ming Dynasty China: Vulnerability, Violation, and Vengeance in Ling Mengchu’s Vernacular Short Stories
Marla Hoffman Lunderberg

3. A Flight of Cultural Imagination in Heian Japan: The Image of Yang Guifei in Genji monagatori and “Chang hen ge”
Catherine Ryu

4. Women Generals and Martial Maidens: China’s Warrior Women in History, Literature, and Film
Cheryl C. D. Hughes

5. Women in Male Roles: Cross-Dressed Actresses in Early Twentieth-Century China
Laura Xie

6. Pavilion of Women: Gender Politics and Global Cultural Translatability
Jinhua Li

7. Gendered Screens: Women, Space, and Social Transformation in the Works of Contemporary Chinese Female Filmmakers
Yanhong Zhu

8. Women in Chinese Visual Art over the Past Century
Shelley Drake Hawks

9. “Lessons for Women”: From The Good Earth to Leftover Women
Jessica A. Sheetz-Nguyen


Examines literary, historical, and cultural portrayals of Chinese women, across centuries and continents.


Crossing Borders and Confounding Identity advances our understanding of the diversity of Chinese women's experiences and achievements, from the Han Dynasty to the present. With a particular emphasis on literature and the arts, the chapters offer insights into the work of current Chinese women artists as well as literary, historical, and cultural portrayals of women and women's issues. Taken together, they provide new perspectives on Chinese women, their lived experiences and fictional representations, across a broad spectrum of literature, theater, film, and the visual arts. Accessible to nonspecialists and general readers, this book will also be a valuable resource for faculty who teach Asian studies courses in history and in the humanities, as well as for students in interdisciplinary Asian studies courses.

Cheryl C. D. Hughes is Professor Emerita at Tulsa Community College. She is the author of Katherine Drexel: The Riches-to-Rags Story of an American Catholic Saint.


"This edited volume brings together a set of fascinating studies on women crossing boundaries of various kinds in Chinese literature, art, and film, adding richness and nuance to an expanding field of studies on Chinese women. The book will appeal to general readers and students as well as to scholars interested not only in Chinese women's history but in Asian literatures and cultural histories more broadly." — Binbin Yang, author of Heroines of the Qing: Exemplary Women Tell Their Stories