This seminar will examine important questions about the lives of women in the last thousand years of Chinese history through a survey of the best recent research in a variety of disciplines. We will also read selected primary sources in translation, including fiction by Ding Ling and Pa Chin, essays by Lu Xun and Mao Zedong, and two memoirs of the Cultural Revolution. Weeks 2-6 cover the later imperial period; weeks 7-14 cover China’s century of revolution. Although our topic is historical, the course as a whole explores theoretical questions fundamental to women’s studies generally: how has the category of “woman” been shaped by culture and history? How has gender performance interacted with bodily disciplines and constraints (e.g., medical, reproductive, and cosmetic technologies)? How relevant is the experience of Western women to women in other parts of the world? By what standards should liberation be defined? The seminar is cross-listed with Women’s Studies; prior knowledge of Chinese history is welcome but not required.