Spring 2013 - Undergraduate Course Description
Farmer, J Michael
Discipline and Number
HIST 4358 Section: 001
MW Time: 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
Course Title:
Inner Quarters: Women in China


Passive. Submissive. Immobile. Insignificant.
These adjectives are frequently found describing women in China. Fortunately, the field of Chinese women’s history has developed rapidly in the past few decades and many of the old stereotypes of Chinese women are being displaced by more reasoned narratives and analyses. This course will examine the history of women in China from the earliest times through the tenth century. To facilitate this exploration, two anthologies of primary documents—one largely male-authored and the other female-authored—will serve as the core readings for the class. Additionally, we will read selected secondary scholarship, both articles and monographs, to provide examples of how primary documents might be approached as historical sources. Much of our class time will be dedicated to the discussion of readings.



Ebrey, Patricia. Cambridge Illustrated History of China. 2nd ed, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. [ISBN: 0521124336].

Wang, Robin R. Images of Women in Chinese Thought and Culture. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2003. [ISBN 0872206513].

Idema, Wilt and Beata Grant. The Red Brush: Writing Women in Imperial China. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004. [ISBN 067401393X].

Raphals, Lisa. Sharing the Light. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998. [ISBN: 0791438562].

Barrett, T.H. The Woman Who Discovered Printing. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. [ISBN: 0300127286]

Rothschild, N. Harry. Wu Zhao: China’s Only Woman Emperor. New York: Pearson Longman, 2008. [ISBN: 0321394267]

Plus additional readings via eLearning (or whatever it's called this semester).


Source essays.
In-class writing assignments.
Research paper.

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