Memory, Gender and Change in China: Symposium 11 Sept ’15

This day long symposium is organised by WAGnet (Women and Gender in Chinese Studies network) and will take place on Friday 11th September 2015 at the Confucius Institute for Scotland.


The outline programme for the day is shown at the bottom of this page or you can download the WAGNet Symposium Programme. To listen to a podcast record of the day please click here.

Symposium Themes from Speakers

  • New wave feminism
  • LGBT communities
  • Campaigns against violence against women
  • Dating and violence
  • Reproductive cultures
  • Technologies of intimacy
  • Politics of photographic representation of the female body
  • Socialist masculinities
  • Men’s role in family planning and contraception
  • Transnational feminist organizing


Programme overview Titles and Participants
Welcome and introduction
Welcome from the Confucius Institute for Scotland

Introduction to the day: Dr Sophia Woodman, University of Edinburgh

Keynote Address
Prof. Harriet Zurndorfer, Leiden University                    Men, Women, Money and Morality:  Gender and the Development of China’s Sexual Economy
1030-1100 Tea/Coffee Break
1100-1230Panel 1:
Tradition and change
Moderator: Prof. Fiona Moore, Royal Holloway, University of London

Speakers: Dr. Alison Hardie, University of Leeds
Dr. Wu Shengqing, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Dr. Xuelei Huang, University of Edinburgh
Dr. Francesca Bray, University of Edinburgh

1230-1330 Lunch
1330-1500Panel 2:
Socialist heritage and contemporary resonances
Moderator: Prof. Francesca Bray

Speakers: Dr. Wang Xiangxian, Tianjin Normal University
Prof. Fiona Moore
Dr. Wang Xiying, Beijing Normal University
Dr. Derek Hird, University of Westminster

1500-1530 Tea/Coffee Break
1530-1700Panel 3:
From global to local: reflections 20 years after the UN Fourth World Conference on Women
Moderator: Dr. Xuelei Huang

Speakers: Feng Yuan, Media Monitor Network for Women & Shantou University
Dr. Robin Runge, George Washington University Law School
Dr. Wei Wei, East China Normal University
Dr. Sophia Woodman

1715-1815 Networking reception

Please note that the organizers intend that this Symposium generate a broad conversation on related themes, so participants are welcome to bring their own concerns and questions, as well as responding to what the speakers have to say.


Francesca Bray is a historian and anthropologist of science, technology and medicine in China and elsewhere. One special focus of her research is gender regimes, another is agriculture, food and identity. Her most recent books are Technology, gender and history in imperial China: great transformations reconsidered (Routledge, 2013), and Rice: global networks and new histories (Cambridge, 2015).

Feng Yuan has been working on gender and women’s rights issues in China since the mid-1980s. From 1986-2006, she worked as a journalist, and from the 1990s on co-founded several women’s NGOs, including Media Monitor for Women Network (1996-), Anti Domestic Violence Network/Beijing Fanbao (2000-2014) and Equality (2014-). She is also a guest professor at the Center for Women’s Studies at Shantou University.

Alison Hardie has just retired as Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds, and remains a researcher with the White Rose East Asia Centre.Her research interest is the cultural history of the late Ming; she has written on women’s use of gardens at that time. She has recently completed a monograph on the poet, playwright and politician Ruan Dacheng, and is now working on political drama in the Ming-Qing transition

Derek Hird is a Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Westminster. His research focuses on men and masculinities in China.His research focuses on men and masculinities in China. He has written on topics such as white-collar men, androgyny and domestic violence, and is currently researching the experiences of transmigrant Chinese men in London. He is the co-author of Men and Masculinities in Contemporary China (Brill 2013).

Huang Xuelei is Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests include early Chinese cinema, social and cultural history of late Qing and Republican China.Her research interests include early Chinese cinema, social and cultural history of late Qing and Republican China. Her publications include Shanghai Filmmaking: Crossing Borders, Connecting to the Globe, 1922-1938 (Brill 2014) and several essays in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Twentieth-Century China, etc.

Fiona Moore is Professor in Business Anthropology at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research interests include gender and ethnic diversity in multinational corporations and cross-cultural management.She is currently conducting a study of Taiwanese professional networks in Toronto.

Robin Runge is an Associate Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School where she has taught Public Interest Lawyering and Domestic Violence Law since 2004, including in the clinical education program. Since 2007, Professor Runge has worked with civil society organizations and the judiciary in China to develop curricula and conduct trainings for Chinese lawyers and judges on domestic violence, and has consulted on local, regional and national policies and laws to respond to domestic violence in China. In 2014, she co-authored a report containing recommendations for China regarding its national anti-domestic violence law.

Wang Xiangxian is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Tianjin Normal University.Her research interests focus on gender and family planning, domestic violence, fatherhood and masculinity and feminist history. She is the author of several books including Introduction to the Second Sex (Tianjin People’s Press, 2010), Intimate Violence: A Case of 1,015 University Students (Tianjin People’s Press, 2009) and Gender in Everyday Life (Tianjin People’s Press, 2009). She has been active in organizing campaigns against intimate violence on campus.

Xiying Wang is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Development and Public Policy at Beijing Normal University. Her major research interests include gender studies, feminist theory and human sexualities, qualitative research methods, gender-based violence, sex education, and women living with HIV/AIDs.

Wei Wei is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the School of Social Development, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China. His research focuses are LGBT communities and movements, urban queer spaces, Chinese masculinities and HIV/AIDS prevention. He is the author of two Chinese books: Going Public: The Production and Transformation of Queer Spaces in Chengdu, China (2012) and Queering Chinese Society: Urban Space, Popular Culture and Social Policy (2015).

Sophia Woodman is a Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science. Her research interests include citizenship, human rights and social movements in contemporary China, with a focus on the every day politics of citizens, including the gendered character of citizenship. A publication on these themes is Law, translation and voice: the transformation of a struggle for social justice in a Chinese village, published in Critical Asian Studies in 2011.

Harriet T. Zurndorfer is an Affiliated Fellow of the Leiden Institute for Area Studies in the Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University in the Netherlands where she has worked since 1978. She is founder, and editor-in-chief of the journal Nan Nü: Men, Women and Gender in China. She has been a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College (Oxford), Visiting Professor at the Sorbonne, and a participant in the London School of Economics-sponsored project Global Economic History Network (2003-06), and is currently researching a book on Chinese women’s inequality in the post-socialist era.


This symposium and the preceding two days of workshops are sponsored by the Confucius Institute for Scotland, the Universities China Committee in London and Women and Gender in Chinese Studies Network (WAGNet).

To register for the public symposium please click here.