The “Feminization of Famine” and the Feminization of Nationalism

Kathryn Edgerton-Tarpley

in Tears from Iron

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253025
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934221 | DOI:
The “Feminization of Famine” and the Feminization of Nationalism

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During the Incredible Famine not only local literati in Shanxi but also Chinese journalists and philanthropists in treaty-port Shanghai engaged in what Margaret Kelleher calls a “feminization of famine,” or the representation of famine and its effects through images of women. The scale of the trafficking in women during the famine shocked Chinese as well as foreign relief workers and highlighted the unstable place women occupied in the Confucian order, according to which women were feared to be the weakest link in the family. The plight of women during the famine rapidly became an issue around which wider debates about Chinese state and society coalesced.

Keywords: Incredible Famine; -port Shanghai; Chinese journalists; Margaret Kelleher; human trafficking

Chapter.  8062 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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