Women and China’s Revolutions | Wilson Center
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Women and China’s Revolutions

If we place women at the center of our account of China’s past two centuries of history, how does this change our understanding of what happened? Does Big History itself shift?  Gail Hershatter explores two themes: the labor of women in domestic and public space, which has shaped China’s move from empire to republic to socialist nation to rising capitalist power; and the symbol of Woman as it has been deployed in discussions about the fate of China.

Gail Hershatter is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a former President of the Association for Asian Studies.  Her works include The Workers of Tianjin (1986, Chinese translation 2016), Personal Voices: China Women in the 1980s (1988, with Emily Honig), Dangerous Pleasures: Prostitution in Twentieth-Century Shanghai (1997, Chinese translation 2003), Women in China’s Long Twentieth Century (2004), The Gender of Memory: Rural Women and China’s Collective Past (2011; Chinese translation 2017) and Women and China’s Revolutions (2019). 

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest and the George Washington University History Department for their support.



  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center
  • Eric Arnesen

    Professor of History, The George Washington University


  • Gail Hershatter

    Distinguished Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz