Through Chinese Women's Eyes

A film by Mayfair Yang

1997 | 52 minutes | Color | DVD | Subtitled | Order No. 99567


"THROUGH CHINESE WOMEN'S EYES offers an insightful journey into the transformations in the lives of Chinese women over the 20th century. In a fascinating overview, anthropologist/director Mayfair Yang documents the attempts to erase gender differences under Mao, today's changing ideas of femininity, and the crystallization of Chinese feminism at the UN Women's conference in Beijing. As propaganda films and news footage of the 1960's, present day television images, and interview footage from the 1990's mingle in a rich visual history, teachers, karaoke singers, organizers, and others share their lives. This sensitive portrayal of the daily experiences and historical memories of Chinese is essential to an understanding of contemporary feminisms." - Faye Ginsburg, New York University


"A visual and conceptual compilation of incredible interest and a fascinating exploration of the contradictions and satisfactions of Chinese feminism."

Janet Walker UC Santa Barbara

"A remarkable and complex visualization... compelling both as image and scholarship."

Shirley Lim UC Santa Barbara


Mayfair Yang

Prof. Yang received her Ph.D. in Anthropology at U.C. Berkeley and has taught at and assumed research fellowships at University of Michigan, University of Chicago, Harvard University, and Beijing University.
Yang is interested in issues of modernity, such as the break with traditional orders and the collective anxieties, ordeals, and insanities of modernity. She also works on the Anthropology of the State: the proliferation of the cultural logic of the state in modernity, state forms of organization, ancient state forms, and everyday forms of civil society and counter-state movements. With a five-year National Science Foundation research grant, she conducted fieldwork in rural southeast China on the revival of popular religion and non-state organizations.

Another research interest is the development of mass media and popular culture (print, film, television, videotape, telephone, Internet, etc.), their social impact especially in non-Western contexts, and the construction of new transnational forms of subjectivity through transnational movements of media. Yang's interest in media is not merely from the point of view of textual analyses of media, but also in the production end of media. She has made two ethnographic/documentary videos, one on the revival of popular religion in rural China, the other on urban women in China which was presented at the Creteil Women's International Film Festival in Paris, France.

She has also published and taught on issues of gender and feminism, such as the gendered domestic and public spheres, consumer sexuality, and the question of transnational feminist movements. Finally, Yang's cultural and geographical region of specialization is China and it's offshoot cultures and diaspora in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and the West.

She teaches the core graduate seminar (Anthro 229C) "Contemporary Issues in Cultural Anthropology," and other courses such as "Anthropology of Gender," "Mass media, Gender and Transnationalism," "Modernity and East Asia," "Anthropology of the State," "Elements of Traditional Chinese Culture," and "Contemporary Chinese Society." Her book on gift and state economies in China won the American Ethnological Society First Book Prize in 1997. (09/09)


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