Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History and University Honors
China -- History -- 19th century, China -- History -- 20th century, Education -- China -- History, Women-- Education -- Social aspects -- China
The modern Chinese ‘girl student’ was born in a context of great upheaval and redefinition within Chinese society. The ability to produce a generation of educated and civic-minded young people was integral to various reform projects at the turn of the twentieth century--doing so would develop a widespread sense of belonging to the cause of national salvation. This meant introducing a modern education system and engaging with the general population of China in unprecedented ways, including extending opportunities previously unavailable to large portions of the population. I situate my research within this phenomenon, where the young female student takes on the role of new national citizen. I identify the late years of the Qing dynasty (1895 - 1911) and the early years of the Republican era (1912 - 1919) as a key period of reform. Both in last minute attempts to save the imperial system, and in forward-looking efforts to build the foundation for a modern China, these reforms increasingly pulled women into an evolving public sphere. In doing so, I delineate the extent to which developments in areas of education and print culture served to draw Chinese women into the realm of a new, unified “Chinese” identity in China’s transition to modernity.
Fish, Kayla, "The ‘Girl Student’ and Modernity: Imagining a Place for Women in the New Nation" (2019). University Honors Theses. Paper 707.