Zhange Ni

Zhange Ni

WSRP Research Associate 2010–11

Home institution

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Research project

Plumbing The Heart of 'Thorny Shrubs': Women, Religion, and Cultural Nationalism in Republican China

This project traces the genealogies of (new) women and (old) religion in Republican China as they impact the unfolding project of Chinese modernity, or particularly nation-formation. The focus of this project is the autobiographical novel 'The Heart of Thorny Shrubs' (1929) by Su Xuelin (1897-1999), who, as a typical 'new' woman, chose to embrace Catholicism and Confucianism, two 'old' religions. This project argues that Su Xuelin, in both her experience and her writing, challenged not only the secularism but also the seemingly liberating gender stereotypes propounded by the New Culture (male) intellectuals, and aspired to imagine a modern Chinese nation in the conflation of the female, religious, and aesthetic realms.

WSRP lecture

Plumbing the Heart of Thorny Shrubs: Women, Religion, and Cultural Nationalism in Republican China


HDS 2105: The Cult of Literature and Its Feminist Dissenters (Spring 2011)

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