The Library is pleased to organise the following public talk by Prof. Grace S. Fong of McGill University. All are welcome to join!
Writing and Local Identity: Literary Women of the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong in the 18th and 19th Centuries
Prof. Grace Fong
Professor of Chinese Literature, Department of East Asian Studies, McGill University
Visiting Professor, School of Chinese, The University of Hong Kong
Abstract of the talk
On the southern margins of the Qing empire, Guangdong has been seen as an evolving site of regional culture, education, and commerce, particularly in the Pearl River Delta counties surrounding the provincial capital Guangzhou in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. While anthropologists have uncovered a working-class women’s culture in this region, educated women from the counties of Panyu, Shunde, Xinhui, and Zhongshan were a significant but as yet understudied part of the elite culture.
Using data on Guangdong women in the Ming Qing Women’s Writings database and digital archive (http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/mingqing/) as primary sources for comparison, this paper aims to explore the relationship of these women’s writing to the construction of regional culture and identity before the Western powers had a significant impact through trade and missionary efforts beyond the Canton trading zone. To what extent were literary women part of a regional culture in Guangdong in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? Using both biographical and textual data and examining the paratexts, poetic themes and topics, and regional and social networks contained in fifteen individual works by Qing women writers from Guangdong, I will examine how a regional or local culture might have been constructed in these textual productions, and to ask how the components of this regional women’s culture – the hopes and desires, social and cultural activities, reflections and ambitions of these women in the Pearl River Delta show differences from or similarities to their contemporaries, the well-known elite educated women in the cultured Yangzi River Delta.
Date: 10 Jan, 2018 (Wed)
Time: 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Venue: Digital Scholarship Lab, G/F, University Library
Event Recording: https://youtu.be/nw3g_2_AwRM
Presentation File: Download