Date of Graduation
Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS)
College of Arts and Sciences
Asia Pacific Studies
John K. Nelson
Contemporary feminism and its emergence in the early 20th century may seem like a recent phenomenon; however, the idea of feminism has been evolving over the centuries and what may be called a “proto-feminism” could be found in one of China’s classical literary masterpieces, known as the Daodejing. Classical Chinese philosophy has influenced and helped shape what feminism is today in China. For this project, I analyzed the use of language in the Daodejing to demonstrate the feminine imagery throughout the text. Secondly, the characters having significance for feminist interpretations for the Dao and Yin-Yang were deconstructed and analyzed in order to go into more depth on the meaning. Thirdly, Confucianism and Daoism were compared in order to provide more context and to show how they differ from each other. Lastly, I will use contemporary feminist figures—such as Li Ruzhen, Qiu Jin, and the “Beijing Five”—as examples to show how Daoism was a precursor to and how it helped shape feminism into what it is today in China.
Miller, Dessie, "Celebrating the Feminine: Daoist Connections to Contemporary Feminism in China" (2017). Master's Projects and Capstones. 613.