Visualising Ethnicity in the Southwest Borderlands

Gender and Representation in Late Imperial and Republican China


This book explores the mutual constitutions of visuality and empire from the perspective of gender, probing how the lives of China’s ethnic minorities at the southwest frontiers were translated into images. Two sets of visual materials make up its core sources: the Miao album, a genre of ethnographic illustration depicting the daily lives of non-Han peoples in late imperial China, and the ethnographic photographs found in popular Republican-era periodicals. It highlights gender ideals within images and develops a set of “visual grammar” of depicting the non-Han. Casting new light on a spectrum of gendered themes, including femininity, masculinity, sexuality, love, body and clothing, the book examines how the power constructed through gender helped to define, order, popularise, celebrate and imagine possessions of empire.

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Jing Zhu, Ph.D. (2018), University of Edinburgh, is CCKF postdoctoral fellow of history at the University of Warwick.
All interested in the representation of ethnic minorities in late imperial and Republican China, and anyone concerned with the intersections of visuality, gender and empire.