Gendering the Nation: The Proliferation of Images of Zhen Fei (1876-1900) and Sai Jinhua (1872-1936) in Late Qing and Republican China

in NAN NÜ
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Abstract

This paper analyzes the historical trajectories of the images of Zhen Fei and Sai Jinhua, who rose from an obscure royal concubine and an infamous prostitute, respectively, to become androgynous national heroines in wartime China. The study exposes the construction and the fictional elements of these images, thus providing concrete examples for establishing the interconnection between male fantasy and the invention of the modern national subject. It argues that the female body became the contested site for predominantly male-led discourses on eroticism and politics, and emphasizes that erotic desire may inform or enhance expressions and experiences of the formation of modern nationhood.

Gendering the Nation: The Proliferation of Images of Zhen Fei (1876-1900) and Sai Jinhua (1872-1936) in Late Qing and Republican China

in NAN NÜ

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