Inventing a Discourse of Resistance: Rhetorical Women in Early Twentieth-Century China

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195086
Title:
Inventing a Discourse of Resistance: Rhetorical Women in Early Twentieth-Century China
Author:
Wang, Bo
Issue Date:
2005
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation investigates Chinese women's rhetorical practices in the early twentieth century. Tracing the formation and development of a new rhetoric in China, I examine women's writings that were denigrated in the May Fourth period. I argue that as an important part of the new rhetoric, women's texts explored women's issues and created the modern self in the May Fourth period by critiquing a patriarchal tradition that excluded women's experiences from its articulation.I begin by challenging the assumptions that rhetoric is a Western male phenomenon. Situating my study in the area of comparative rhetoric, I critique the previous scholarship in the field and delineate the research methodologies used in this dissertation. In Chapter 2 I locate women's rhetorical practices within the specific social and historical contexts of the May Fourth period. I contend that the May Fourth women's literary texts are rhetorical, considering the different conception of rhetoric in the Chinese rhetorical tradition as well as the social impact these texts created at that historical juncture. In Chapter 3 I extrapolate Lu Yin's feminist rhetorical theory and practice from her sanwen (essays) and fiction. I argue that by emphasizing tongqing (sympathy) in her literary theory, Lu Yin's discourse offers an example of how gendered and culturally specific rhetorical concepts and strategies influence the reader and exert social changes. Chapter 4 provides a case study of Bing Xin, another well-known woman writer in the May Fourth period. I argue that by advocating a "philosophy of love" throughout her lyrical essays and fiction, Bing Xin injected a distinctive female voice in the male-dominated discourse in which women and children were either belittled or silenced. Bing Xin's view of writing as expressing the writer's individuality as well as her unique feminine prose style transformed this classical genre into a more vigorous rhetorical form. Using my case studies as reference, I conclude by drawing out the implications of Chinese women's rhetorical experiences for the studies of rhetoric and comparative rhetoric. I show how such a cross-cultural study of particular rhetorics can help further our exploration of human rhetorical practices in general.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Chinese literature -- Women authors -- History and criticism.; Chinese literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.; Women authors, Chinese -- China.; China -- History -- May Fourth movement, 1919.; Rhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Rhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Mountford, Roxanne
Committee Chair:
Mountford, Roxanne

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleInventing a Discourse of Resistance: Rhetorical Women in Early Twentieth-Century Chinaen_US
dc.creatorWang, Boen_US
dc.contributor.authorWang, Boen_US
dc.date.issued2005en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation investigates Chinese women's rhetorical practices in the early twentieth century. Tracing the formation and development of a new rhetoric in China, I examine women's writings that were denigrated in the May Fourth period. I argue that as an important part of the new rhetoric, women's texts explored women's issues and created the modern self in the May Fourth period by critiquing a patriarchal tradition that excluded women's experiences from its articulation.I begin by challenging the assumptions that rhetoric is a Western male phenomenon. Situating my study in the area of comparative rhetoric, I critique the previous scholarship in the field and delineate the research methodologies used in this dissertation. In Chapter 2 I locate women's rhetorical practices within the specific social and historical contexts of the May Fourth period. I contend that the May Fourth women's literary texts are rhetorical, considering the different conception of rhetoric in the Chinese rhetorical tradition as well as the social impact these texts created at that historical juncture. In Chapter 3 I extrapolate Lu Yin's feminist rhetorical theory and practice from her sanwen (essays) and fiction. I argue that by emphasizing tongqing (sympathy) in her literary theory, Lu Yin's discourse offers an example of how gendered and culturally specific rhetorical concepts and strategies influence the reader and exert social changes. Chapter 4 provides a case study of Bing Xin, another well-known woman writer in the May Fourth period. I argue that by advocating a "philosophy of love" throughout her lyrical essays and fiction, Bing Xin injected a distinctive female voice in the male-dominated discourse in which women and children were either belittled or silenced. Bing Xin's view of writing as expressing the writer's individuality as well as her unique feminine prose style transformed this classical genre into a more vigorous rhetorical form. Using my case studies as reference, I conclude by drawing out the implications of Chinese women's rhetorical experiences for the studies of rhetoric and comparative rhetoric. I show how such a cross-cultural study of particular rhetorics can help further our exploration of human rhetorical practices in general.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectChinese literature -- Women authors -- History and criticism.en_US
dc.subjectChinese literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.en_US
dc.subjectWomen authors, Chinese -- China.en_US
dc.subjectChina -- History -- May Fourth movement, 1919.en_US
dc.subjectRhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of Englishen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineRhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of Englishen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorMountford, Roxanneen_US
dc.contributor.chairMountford, Roxanneen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberEnos, Theresaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMiller, Thomas P.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest1188en_US
dc.identifier.oclc137354282en_US
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