Marriage, Law and Gender in Revolutionary China
Xiaoping Cong, University of Houston
Cambridge University Press, 2016
Xiaoping Cong examines the social and cultural significance of Chinese revolutionary legal practice in the construction of marriage and gender relations. Her book is an empirically rich investigation of the ways in which a 1943 legal dispute over an arranged marriage in a Chinese village became a legal, political and cultural exemplar on the national stage. This conceptually groundbreaking study revisits the Chinese Revolution and its impact on women and society by presenting a Chinese experience that cannot and should not be theorized in the framework of Western discourse. Taking a cultural historical perspective, Cong shows how the Chinese Revolution and its legal practices produced new discourses, neologisms and cultural symbols that contained China’s experience in twentieth-century social movements, and how revolutionary practice was sublimated into the concept of ‘self-determination’, an idea that bridged local experiences with the tendency of the twentieth-century world, and that is a revolutionary legacy for China today.
Table of contents:
Introduction Part I. Locality, Marriage Practice and Women: 1. The case of Feng v. Zhang: marriage reform in a revolutionary region 2. The appeal: women, love, marriage, and the revolutionary state Part II. Legal Practice and New Principle: 3. The new adjudication: the judicial construction in marriage reform 4. A new principle in the making: from ‘freedom’ to ‘self-determination’ of marriage through legal practice Part III. Politics and Gender in Construction: 5. Newspaper reports: casting a new democracy in village communities 6. The Qin opera and the ballad: from rebellious daughters to social mothers 7. The Ping opera and movie: nationalizing the new marriage practice and politicizing the state-family, 1949–1960 Epilogue: ‘Liu Qiao’er’, law, and zi-zhu: beyond 1960 Bibliography Index.