Chinese Women’s Common Knowledge: Modern Science in the Linglong Magazine, 1912-1949 Open Access

Qian, Virginia (Spring 2022)

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In this study, I explore the connections between women and science in the Republican period China (1912-1949) by examining Linglong, a women’s periodical published in Shanghai between 1931 and 1937. Linglong offered a space for Republican women to confront the disorienting atmosphere where public and intellectual debate on women’s role in saving the nation and the influx of western information contributed to changing norms and expectations for women. Republican period intellectuals claimed that women’s weakness and subordination were linked to the nation’s weakness, and women’s emancipation linked to modernity. Reading Linglong, women asserted some control over how they understood the roles and responsibilities of a modern woman and were no passive recipients of modern transformation as cast by intellectuals. At the same time, there was no clear path to this transformation. Linglong displayed diverse presentations of western information and contradictions among its articles. Science in Linglong shaped the behaviors of a modern woman and provided them with the roots of rational and scientific thinking.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Background 9

Chapter 2 The Ideal Woman: Scientific and Savvy 14

2.1 The Appearance of Science in Linglong 18

2.2 Knowing the Language of Science: Terminology 22

2.3 Adopting Science in Practice: Making Sense of Social Phenomena 26

Conclusion 31

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