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Document Details :
Title: Wandering between the Inner and the Outer
Subtitle: Travel, Identity and Educational Arguments of the Gentry Women in Late Qing China: a Case Study on Zeng Yi (1852-1927) and Shan Shili (1863-1945)
Author(s): YUAN, Xing
Journal: Journal Asiatique
Volume: 307 Issue: 1 Date: 2019
Through a case study on Zeng Yi and Shan Shili, this article explores the transitional characteristics demonstrated in the late Qing gentry women’s arguments on women’s travel, identity and education. As it reveals, though these women travelers physically crossed the inner-outer boundary and considered travel as a means of self-cultivation and education for women, they simultaneously insisted on women’s social role at home and devotion to the household duties. According to their arguments, women were encouraged to travel out for learning and to concern the national affairs, but were forbidden to step into the social occupational and political domains. They also advocated the gender segregation and the traditional Chinese feminine virtue, which were highly evaluated as protection of the 'superior' Chineseness. In summary, these gentry women had traveled from the spatial inner chambers to the external world, but had not 'traveled' from the 'inner' family to the 'outer' society. On the contrary, the contemporary heralds urgently propelled women from family to society and anticipated them to undertake profitable professions for the nation’s prosperity.