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Theorising Chinese Masculinity
Society and Gender in China


  • Author: Kam Louie, Australian National University, Canberra
  • Date Published: September 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521119047

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About the Authors
  • This book is a comprehensive analysis of Chinese masculinity. While there is a vast Eurocentric scholarship on gender and sexuality, there has been little work addressing these issues within the Chinese context. Kam Louie uses the concepts of wen (cultural attainment) and wu (martial valour) to explain attitudes to masculinity. This revises most Western analyses of Asian masculinity that rely on the yin-yang binary. Examining classical and contemporary Chinese literature and film, the book also looks at the Chinese diaspora to consider Chinese masculinity within and outside China. Its use of a largely indigenous framework to analyse Chinese masculinity makes it an exciting addition to this burgeoning field.

    • Was the first comprehensive and theoretical examination of Chinese masculinty
    • Has insightful analyses of significant Chinese figures such as Confucius and modern writers such as Lao She and Ding Ling in terms of masculinity
    • Looks at the transformations of Chinese masculinity ideals in China and in the West
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Theorising Chinese Masculinity is a welcome addition to studies on gender - both globally and in terms of China specifically. The book is a boon for those teaching Chinese gender studies in that it offers accessible and stimulating insights into the iconography and representations of Chinese masculinity.' Asian Studies Review

    'This book is unique in its originality as it provides a much-needed account of masculinity in Chinese society and beyond … a breath of fresh air … For anyone concerned with understanding the construction of cultural and sexual identities, this book offers needed insights into a long neglected arena of masculinity. Louie's stimulating and readable account of the construction of Chinese masculinity could not have arrived at a better time.' Sociology

    'In [the book], Kam Louie offers us a very clear and concise analysis of the cultural models of Chinese masculinity from ancient imperial times to the present age of transnational contact … Louie's book could be considered a pioneering effort to provide a rather comprehensive study of this subject. Besides describing in detail the historical development of the male image from premodern to contemporary times, Louie also focuses on the ways in which Chinese men have been represented under the Western gaze and how these representations have negotiated with the dominant Western culture.' Philosophy East and West

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521119047
    • length: 248 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introducing wen-wu: towards a definition of Chinese masculinity
    2. Portrait of the God of War Guan Yu: sex, politics and wu masculinity
    3. Confucius as sage, teacher, businessman: transformations of the wen Icon
    4. Scholars and intellectuals: representations of wen masculinity past and present
    5. The working-class hero: images of wu in traditional and Post-Mao fiction
    6. Women's voices: the ideal 'woman's man' in the twentieth century
    7. Lao She's The Two Mas and foreign wives: constructing wen masculinity for the modern world
    8. Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Chow Yun Fat: internationalising wu masculinity
    9. Wen-wu reconstructed: Chinese masculinity hybridised and globalised

  • Author

    Kam Louie, Australian National University, Canberra

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