You are here

Gender Boundaries in Poetry during the Ming-Qing Transition

Professor Wai-Yee Li will discuss the writings produced by women that challenged gender boundaries during the Ming-Qing dynasty transition.

May 15, 2008 12:00am

Thursday, May 15
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Wai-Yee Li, Professor of Chinese Literature, Harvard University

The turmoil of the Ming-Qing transition produced an impressive spate of writings by women that challenged gender boundaries. The poetry about witnessing, understanding, and remembering this crisis necessarily transforms or goes beyond the boudoir as subject matter and the delicate, romantic diction traditionally characterized as "feminine." Political disorder might also have created new possibilities of action or defined an imaginative space for aspirations not admissible in periods with more stable social roles. More generally, discontent with gender roles sometimes became the pre-condition for, as well as the consequence of, political engagement.