Archive for March, 2016

China in Ten Words

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

In “China in Ten Words” Yu Hua is presenting a critique in the distinct and significant ideological shift that can be seen around the 1990s in China. This can be seen in his chapter on “People” in which he analyzes the changed meaning of the word and even discusses the dramatic shift from the democracy movements of 1989 and Tienanmen Square protests to the focus of economic success and the acquisition of wealth. Furthermore, you can see it in the chapter “Leader” that the Chinese people have moved away from the idolized leader that Mao Zedong represented. Yu Hua pulls on his own memories to show the ways in which China has changed so dramatically over the course of his life.

Research Paper Progress

Friday, March 25th, 2016

At this point in my research, I am still sorting through my secondary sources. It is that time in the semester when it gets really busy, so my time management skills will definitely be coming into use. What is fortunate, however, is that I am writing a paper in my Philosophy class about the theory of Chinese Feminism, so I’ve been able to build off many of the sources that I am using for this paper (however, I am writing two very distinct papers). I’ve come to find that some of my secondary sources include works written by Chinese feminists throughout the last few decades that focus mostly on theory – this is great for my philosophy paper, but not for this paper. I am still trying to find more articles to fill in gaps in my research and pulling specific stories from the news about the detainment of the “Feminist Five” which will serve as a case study on how the government has reacted to feminist activism in modern China.

Challenges of Research

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

When it comes to research projects, I always find myself with three main problems:

The first challenge is the obvious: time management. Research is ultimately a very time consuming task and required a great deal of planning. It is important to spend equal amounts of time going through both primary and secondary sources and taking detailed notes so that it isn’t necessary to go back through each source to find a piece of information. Actually writing a paper, in my opinion, doesn’t take nearly as long as the preparation for writing a research paper, which is why writing out a detailed outline is important. It is also important to stay on top of all your sources, going through them all a little at a time. It is almost impossible to do research the night before, which is why time management is so essential.

The second challenge I usually face is remaining unbiased. Sometimes I choose topics out of interest, and have to be aware of my own bias going into it. Sometime if one thinks they already know the answer to their research question, they will omit sources and scholarship that disproves that hypothesis. This ultimately leads to a biased paper. Sometime I find myself steering myself towards the sources that agree with my initial thoughts, and I have to actively go through and make sure I am pulling from a wide range of sources to stop myself from picking a choosing information that works best for my idea.

Finally, I usually find myself choosing topics too broad for the paper length. Sometimes I get passionate about a project and I want to write too much. This is why I have to focus my topic on a specific time frame or case so that I can do the topic justice in the amount of space I am given.

Research Paper – Primary Source

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

Honig, Email and Gail Hershatter. Personal Voices Chinese Women in the 1980’s. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1988.

This book titled Personal Voices: Chinese Women in the 1980’s is actually a collection of written accounts by women about life in China in the 1980’s. It includes translations of accounts that cover topics such as family and marriage to violence against women and feminist voices. I chose this source as it gives a uniquely female perspective on the issues that faced women in China during the 1980’s. It really wasn’t until the 1980’s did feminist as we understand it today become a real movement within China which is why this source should provide insight into the issues that women were concerned about at the beginning of this movement.

One weakness that I foresee with using this source is the way in which there is very little information given about each of the authors – I have to research each author individually in order to understand the context in which they are writing. It is my goal for this paper to choose just a few of the most thoughtful pieces from this collection instead of bits and pieces of many – that way, I can be sure to understand the circumstances from which each other comes from.

One piece that I have chosen from the chapter “Feminist Voices” is titled “Nuren bushi yueliang” (Woman is not the moon) written by Ting Lan in 1985. In this powerful piece, Lan makes the statement: “There are things that many of us women understand. The problem is that many people are oppressed by old ideas and the old consciousness. They believe that as women, we don’t have to be strong.” She later goes on to say that “History and present circumstances make many of us women comrades oppressed and constrained. This makes it impossible for us to display our talents, intelligence, and creativity. We just become men’s servants or their burden.” And finally she ends the piece with “Woman is not the moon. She must rely on herself to shine. These are words that many pioneers of the women’s liberation movement, valiant women, and heroines have inscribed with their own actions, tears, and blood.” This source within Personal Voices speaks to the long for independence that women in China feel and the way they view traditional Chinese culture as oppressive.

A second piece from the chapter “Divorce” is a letter written by Li Li in 1985 titled “The Worries of a Divorced Women.” A quote from the letter is as follows: “Getting Divorced was not my fault or desire, but happened mainly because I gave birth to a daughter. Bad luck trapped me and my newborn girl. Mother and daughter – it was suddenly as if we were criminals…Just because of this there were people who said behind my back that a person who gets a divorce is no good, and that a good person does not get divorced. How unfairly life treated me!” This letter shows not only the stigma of divorce, but the fact that a husband divorced his wife because she gave birth to a daughter and not a son. This was another issue that was of great concern to women in the 1980’s and would eventually become part of the feminist movement.