Crossing the Gate
Everyday Lives of Women in Song Fujian (960-1279)
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Challenges the accepted wisdom about women and gender roles in medieval China.
In Crossing the Gate, Man Xu examines the lives of women in the Chinese province of Fujian during the Song dynasty. Tracking women's life experience across class lines, outside as well as inside the domestic realm, Xu challenges the accepted wisdom about women and gender roles in medieval China. She contextualizes women in a much broader physical space and social network, investigating the gaps between ideals and reality and examining women's own agency in gender construction. She argues that women's autonomy and mobility, conventionally attributed to Ming-Qing women of late imperial China, can be traced to the Song era. This thorough study of Song women's life experience connects women to the great political, economic, and social transitions of the time, and sheds light on the so-called "Song-Yuan-Ming transition" from the perspective of gender studies. By putting women at the center of analysis and by focusing on the local and the quotidian, Crossing the Gate offers a new and nuanced picture of the Song Confucian revival.
Man Xu is Assistant Professor of History at Tufts University.
"Xu's provocative study breaks new ground on gender studies in imperial China … Highly recommended. " — CHOICE