Hakka Women in Tulou Villages

Social and Cultural Constructs of Hakka Identity in Modern and Contemporary Fujian, China


Sabrina Ardizzoni’s book is an in-depth analysis of Hakka women in tulou villages in Southeast China. Based on fieldwork, data acquired through local documents, diverse material and symbolic culture elements, this study adopts an original approach that includes historical-textual investigation and socio-anthropological enquiry. Having interviewed local Hakka women and participated in rural village events, public and private, in west Fujian’s Hakka tulou area, the author provides a comprehensive overview of the historical threads and cultural processes that lead to the construction of the ideal Hakka woman, as well as an insightful analysis of the multifaceted Hakka society in which rural women reinvent their social subjectivity and negotiate their position between traditional constructs and modern dynamics.

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Sabrina Ardizzoni, Ph.D. (Ljubljana University), is Adjunct Professor of Chinese Language and Culture at Bologna University, Italy. She has published several articles on Chinese culture, translation studies, and a Dictionary of Contemporary Chinese for Italian Speakers. She has been conducting research on Hakka women in West Fujian since 2014.
List of Figures and Tables

  The Theoretical Framework in the Research
   Rural/Urban Dialectics in Twentieth-Century China
   The Han/Non-Han Dichotomy and the Nation-Building Process in Modern China
   The Hakka Ethnicity/Cultural Issue
  Existing Relevant Studies
  The Yongding Area, the Tulou Issue, and Modern Approaches
  Contemporary Studies on Hakka Women in Rural Villages in Fujian
  The Legacy of Gender Studies on Rural Chinese Women
  The Villages
  The Informants
  The Present Book

1 Into the Minxi Countryside
 1.1 From Collectivization to the Individual
 1.2 Demographic Changes: The Gender Perspective
 1.3 Out of the Countryside
 1.4 School and Girls’ Education
 1.5 Female Employment
 1.6 New Jobs
 1.7 New Ethics: The “Wise Wife and Good Mother” in Contemporary Terms
 1.8 Conclusions

2 Hakka Culture
 2.1 The Hakkas: A Definition
  2.1.1 Migration: Historical Narrations and Social Group Construction
  2.1.2 The “Hakka Spirit”
 2.2 Hakka Family Culture
  2.2.1 Confucian Values in the Traditional Hakka Family
  2.2.2 Family as an Agent for Education
  2.2.3 Hakka jiapus and zupus
 2.3 Conclusions

3 The Tulou as a Material Body and a Theoretical Body
 3.1 Introduction
 3.2 The Functions of the Hakka Minxi tulou
  3.2.1 Defensive Function: The Fortress
  3.2.2 Ecology: Harmony with the Environment
  3.2.3 Ethics: Perpetuating Family Cohesion
 3.3 Fengshui
 3.4 Myths and Legends
 3.5 A Tulou’s Walls Embody Hakka Lineage Culture
 3.6 Conclusions

4 Contemporary Ritual Practices in Fujianese Hakka Villages
 4.1 Introduction
 4.2 Ancestor Worship
 4.3 Popular Rituals and Beliefs
 4.4 Female Deities
  4.4.1 Mazu: An Independent Female Deity
  4.4.2 Guanyin: a Powerful Protector
  4.4.3 Potai: The Woman Ancestor
 4.5 A Private Ritual: The Manyue Ceremony
  4.5.1 The First Manyue
  4.5.2 The Second Manyue
 4.6 Conclusions

5 “Woman” as an Ethical Model in Confucian Traditions
 5.1 Introduction
 5.2 Zhongnan qingnü Culture and the Tradition of Rites
 5.3 The Nüjie Tradition
 5.4 Must-Reads for Women: Nüzi mengxue
 5.5 Conclusions

6 Women in Hakka Tradition
 6.1 Introduction
 6.2 The “Strong Woman” Narrative
 6.3 The “Virtuous Woman” Narrative
 6.4 Traditional Marriage
 6.5 Folk Wisdom and Wen Education: A “Snowball” Effect
  6.5.1 “Zengguang xianwen” (The Expanded Writings of Wisdom)
  6.5.2 An Artistic Vehicle for Expressing Emotion: Shan ge
  6.5.3 The Ballad of the Hakka Woman
 6.6 Gender Inequality from a Historical Perspective
  6.6.1 Hakka Women in the Taiping Rebellion
 6.7 Conclusions

7 The Twentieth Century: From the Tulou to the Modern World
 7.1 Introduction
 7.2 The Central Soviet and the Political Shift
 7.3 A Matter of Education
 7.4 Heroines in Revolutionary Times
 7.5 Conclusions

8 The Image of the Hakka Woman
 8.1 Representations of Hakka Women in Contemporary Minxi
  8.1.1 Yongding Fulian
  8.1.2 Homepage
 8.2 A Twenty-First Century Model of a Twentieth-Century Hakka Woman: Jiang Yue’e
 8.3 Global Inspirational Models
 8.4 Conclusions

9 Conclusions

Appendix: Chinese Place Names
Libraries, research centers, academics, students, experts, and individuals interested in China and Hakka studies, women’s studies, social studies, and rural studies; anthropologists and historians focused on China.