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Redemption and RevolutionAmerican and Chinese New Women in the Early Twentieth Century$
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Motoe Sasaki

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451393

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451393.001.0001

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New Women in the Civilizing Mission

New Women in the Civilizing Mission

(p.15) Chapter 1 New Women in the Civilizing Mission
Redemption and Revolution

Motoe Sasaki

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores how the notion of civilization affected historical consciousness in the U.S. and China, and was also involved in the creation of the subjectivities of the New Woman: on the U.S. side as a benevolent female emancipator by a country at the vanguard of historical progress in the world, and in China as a self-sufficient modern female in a country in imminent danger of falling into a state of wangguo. In addition, the chapter discusses the experiences of the first generation of American New Women missionaries who sailed to China to be part of the civilizing mission otherwise known as the U.S. foreign mission movement. They took issue with the direction of Chinese xin nüxing and with the radical activism among young Chinese women in the 1911 Revolution that overturned the Qing dynasty. By appropriating popularized versions of evolutionary theories, these missionaries constructed their legitimacy as teachers of Chinese women on the basis of comparisons with them, and they created educational projects and enterprises for Chinese women designed to create a more acceptable kind of New Woman that fell in line with mainstream views of American missionary women.

Keywords:   civilization, historical consciousness, New Woman, women missionaries, U.S. foreign mission movement, Chinese women, activism, xin nüxing, American missionary womens

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