Mobilising Women: The Women’s Advisory Council, Resistance and Reconstruction during China’s War with Japan

In: European Journal of East Asian Studies
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  • 1 Virginia Tech

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This article uses the Women’s Advisory Council of the New Life Movement to show how educated women developed their own concepts of wartime responsibilities as they conducted resistance and social construction programmes. It particularly examines their work with rural women and efforts to improve education, production, life habits and national consciousness. In transferring their vision of China’s development to uneducated compatriots in the interior, the Council cadres attempted to bolster their social authority and prove their leadership abilities. Their work explicates another dimension of the lasting consequences to wartime relief provision.

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    Christina Gilmartin, Engendering the Chinese Revolution: Radical Women, Communist Politics, and Mass Movements in the 1920s (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).

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    Gail Hershatter, Women in China’s Long Twentieth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), p. 89; Kimberley Manning, ‘Embodied activisms: the case of the Mu Guiying Brigade’, The China Quarterly, Vol. 204 (December 2010), pp. 854–855.

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    Louise Edwards, Gender, Politics, and Democracy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), p. 23.

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    Helen Schneider, Keeping the Nation’s House: Domestic Management and the Making of Modern China (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011), pp. 145–152.

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    James Hinton, Women, Social Leadership and the Second World War: Continuities of Class (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), preface.

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    Joshua Howard, Workers at War: Labor in China’s Arsenals, 1937–1953 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004); Susan Glosser, ‘“Women’s culture of resistance”: an ordinary response to extraordinary circumstances’, in Christian Henriot and Wen-Hsin Yeh (eds) In the Shadow of the Rising Sun: Shanghai under Japanese Occupation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

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    May-ling Soong Chiang, War Messages and Other Selections by May-ling Soong Chiang (Hankou: China Information Committee, 1938), ‘New Life Movement in China’ (1936), p. 319.

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    Ruth Rogaski, Hygienic Modernity: Meanings of Health and Disease in Treaty Port China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004); Chieko Nakajima, ‘Health and hygiene in mass mobilisation: hygiene campaigns in Shanghai, 1920–1945’, Twentieth Century China, Vol. 34, No. 1 (November 2008), pp. 42–72.

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  • 50

    Ministry of Education work team report, 1939, SHAC RG 11/834/24. Qingmuguan is now part of the Chongqing municipality; in the Republican period it was considered rural.

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    Ministry of Education work team report, 1939. Later in the war, Zhu Bihui was a member of the Ministry of Education’s Committee on Medical Education.

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