Defining Gender Orthodoxy for a Multiethnic Empire

Janet M. Theiss

in Disgraceful Matters

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780520240339
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930667 | DOI:
Defining Gender Orthodoxy for a Multiethnic Empire

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Chinese dynasties had for centuries issued awards for extraordinary virtue to the chaste and filial to provide exemplars for the moral cultivation of their subjects and to enhance their own image of virtue and benevolence. The expansion of categories of state-sanctioned chastity suicides served as a politically benign and pragmatic gesture of support for the values of Han literati, whose movement for revival of ritual and moral orthodoxy was gaining momentum over the first half of the eighteenth century. If the first two reigns of the dynasty saw the creation of a new state discourse on female virtue, it was the Yongzheng Emperor who constructed the institutional edifice to promote and enforce the evolving state orthodoxy.

Keywords: Chinese dynasties; female virtue; moral cultivation; chastity suicides; Han literati; Yongzheng Emperor

Chapter.  5853 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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