Women in China
In our exploration into the lives of women in pre-modern and contemporary China, we will focus on three topics: Confucianism, foot-binding, and livelihood. Our immersion in different time periods and cultures will help us see some of our own most cherished values—such as freedom, progress, happiness, and justice—in a new light. In the process of negotiating the distance in time, not to mention in geographical and cultural spaces, we may discover insights about who we are and who we want to be.
Dorothy Ko, a native of Hong Kong, is a professor of history at Barnard College. For three decades she has been teaching and writing about women in early modern China from the vantage points of poetry, fashion, technology, and craft. Her most recent book, The Social Life of Inkstones: Artisans and Scholars in Early Qing China, focuses on an eighteenth-century female artisan who carved ink-grinding stones that became emblems of masculinity for scholars and collectors.