SECOND ESSAY ASSIGNMENT

Answer one of the following questions, based on your reading of Growing Up in the People’s Republic: Conversations Between Two Daughters of China’s Revolution, by Ye Weili with Ma Xiaodong. (Please note that Chinese names are written in the order that family name precedesgiven name, so the authors should be referred to as Ye and Ma, not Weili and Xiaodong.)

You should incorporate your answers into a coherent, original argument, and analyze the evidence from the book that supports your argument. You may also use secondary source material from Schoppa and Yu Hua, as well as the PBS documentary China: A Century of Revolution(video). No sources outside the assigned readings are necessary, but feel free to draw from other primary source material (Lu Xun, Mao Zedong, Wang Shiwei, etc) to support your claim.

Your essay should be five pages in length, double-spaced. Remember to document all non-original ideas in your essay, by means of using quotations with footnotes.

  1. Analyze the role of women as crucial actors in the history of twentieth-century China. How do perceptions and self-perceptions of women change over the course of the twentieth century? What role did they play in the Communist revolution and Cultural Revolution? In what way does gender help produce and maintain power structures of society?
  2. Discuss the role played by the stratum of party cadres in the political and economic structure of China during the Maoist era. What were their relationships to the common people? In what ways were they similar to or different from the gentry elites of the earlier period? In what historical circumstances did change occur and how?
  3. Discuss the role of class in the twentieth-century Chinese society. How does the rhetoric of class serve to mobilize certain groups while alienating and discriminating against others? While it imposed a hierarchical order upon the society of the Maoist era, how did such a hierarchy differ from the one imposed by the traditional Confucian order?
 
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