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November 10, 2011

Fall 2011 CCS Noon Lecture Series - Maram Epstein


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Maram Epstein, Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Oregon

Girls Doing for Themselves: Redefining Filial Piety as a Virtue for Women in Late Imperial China

November 15, 2011
Tuesday 12 noon to 1:00 pm
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
1080 South University

Even as chastity was the definitive virtue for women in late imperial China, a growing number of girls and women were claiming virtuous identities for themselves as daughters filial to their natal families. As suggested by female-authored tanci fiction and exemplary biographies, girls and women were drawn to filial piety as a virtue that allowed them expanded forms of agency and control not possible under the ritual codes of chastity. This talk is drawn from a book project that looks at the changing representations and practices of filial piety associated with men and women in Qing China. Sources include fiction, court case memorials, chronological biographies, and local gazetteers.

Maram Epstein is an associate professor of Chinese literature at the University of Oregon. Her research has been focused on reading Ming-Qing novels within their specific cultural and aesthetic contexts. Although her approach to late-imperial fiction is grounded in the intellectual and cultural context of the period and refers to traditional commentaries for immediate “reader response,” the questions she asks are largely informed by recent critical concerns, particularly in the area of gender theory. Professor Epstein’s first book, Competing Discourses, analyzes the shifting fictional representations of gender and sexual desire from within the context of the neo-Confucian discourse of self-cultivation and the late-Ming cult of qing (sentiment). She argues that a poetics of gender based on yinyang numerology is an essential structural element in many Ming-Qing novels.

Posted by zzhu at November 10, 2011 10:39 PM