Cover image for Some of us : Chinese women growing up in the Mao era
Some of us : Chinese women growing up in the Mao era
Zhong, Xueping, 1956-
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxxiii, 208 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
In a world together yet apart: urban and rural women coming of age in the seventies / Naihua Zhang -- Call me "Qingnian" but not "Funü" a Maoist youth in retrospect / Wang Zheng -- From "lighthouse" to the northeast wilderness: growing up among the ordinary stars / Xiaomei Chen -- My wandering years in the cultural revolution: the interplay of political discourse and personal articulation / Bai Di -- "Times have changed; men an women are the same" / Jiang Jin -- Gender consciousness in my teen years / Lihua Wang -- Between "Lixiang" and childhood dreams: back from the future to the nearly forgotten yesteryears / Xueping Zhong -- The production of senses in and out of the "everlasting auspicious land": Shanghai, 1966-1976 / Zhang Zhen -- Congratulations, it's a girl!: gender and identity in Mao's China / Yanmei Wei.
Subject Term:

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HQ1767 .S598 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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What does it mean to have grown up female in the Mao era? How can the remembered details of everyday life help shed light upon those turbulent times?

Some of Us is a collection of memoirs by nine Chinese women who grew up during the Mao era. All hail from urban backgrounds and all have obtained their Ph.D.s in the United States; thus, their memories are informed by intellectual training and insights that only distance can allow. Each of the chapters--arranged by the age of the author--is crafted by a writer who reflects back to that time in a more nuanced manner than has been possible for Western observers. The authors attend to gender in a way that male writers have barely noticed and reflect on their lives in the United States.

The issues explored here are as varied as these women's lives: The burgeoning rebellion of a young girl in northeast China. A girl's struggles to obtain for herself the education her parents inspired her to attain. An exploration of gender and identity as experienced by two sisters.

Some of Us offers insight into a place and time when life was much more complex than Westerners have allowed. These eloquent writings shatter our stereotypes of persecution, repression, victims, and victimizers. Together, these multi-faceted memoirs offer the reader new perspectives as they daringly explore difficult--and fascinating--issues.

Author Notes

XUEPING ZHONG is an associate professor of literature at Tufts University. She is the author of Masculinity Besleged?: Issues of Modernity' and Male Subjectivity in Late Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature. WANG ZHENG is an affiliated scholar at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University. She is the author of Women in the Chinese Enlightenment: Oral and Textual Histories, BAI DI is an assistant professor of Chinese at Iowa State University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Nine women with academic careers in the US reflect on their experiences growing up in Maoist China. Some of their short personal essays discuss the experience of being "sent down" for reeducation in the countryside in the 1960s and 1970s. Others provide glimpses of home life and schooling in that turbulent time. Together they question what the editors call the "dark age master narrative" of the Cultural Revolution: the view, common in other English-language memoirs such as Jung Chang's Wild Swans (1991), that it was a period of unmitigated tragedy. Instead, these authors call attention to the ways Maoist ideas and policies de-emphasized the category of "woman," thus freeing urban girls like themselves from the tyranny of gender expectations. The later essays show the revival of "femininity" as a value in the post-Mao era in the late 1970s and 1980s. The essays are well written and engaging, and the depiction of daily life in Maoist China is refreshing. Some familiarity with the history of the Cultural Revolution is assumed by the editors. The book will be useful in classes on gender and modern Chinese history. All levels and collections. K. E. Stapleton University of Kentucky