China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
The postsocialist Chinese feminist practices and representations are filled with developments and excitement on the one hand, and amnesias, contradictions, and limitations on the other. One salient example of the latter is that class has gradually faded out in gender imaginations and feminist theories, despite the formation of a postsocialist patriarchy predicated on the coalition of a neoliberal economic model and a revived conservative gender ideology. To redress this problematic absence of class without falling into the pitfall of postsocialist gender erasure, the three papers on this panel focus on how some Chinese women writers experiment with different forms of representations to rearticulate the intersectionality of gender and class in the postsocialist period. Our method is to accomplish the rearticulation from reading women’s literature, without relying on any commitment to a priori gender/class discourses. By revisiting some women writers’ works in the early 1980s, Xueping Zhong seeks a contextualized understanding of Chinese women’s anxiety over “proper” femininity against the backdrop of post-women’s liberation and postsocialism. Ping Zhu shows how Wang Anyi has recreated Shanghai as a city of working class women in her recent works, which represents Wang’s endeavor to rearticulate gender and class beyond the dichotomy of socialism and global capitalism. Examining the synchronous and diachronous links of a migrant woman worker Fan Yusu’s self-writing with feminist literary traditions and her cohorts’ literary works, Hui Faye Xiao explores new possibilities of re-naming these worker-writers’ collective identity from the precarious diceng (subaltern) to empowered funü.