This book brings together the work of scholars from around the world in a consideration of how gender is contested in various parts of Asia – in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines.
Part I of this collection explores notions of agency in relation to women’s domestic and everyday lives. While ‘agency’ is one of the key terms in contemporary social science, scholarship on women in Asia recently has focussed on women’s political activism. Women’s private lives have been neglected in this new scholarship. This volume has a special focus on women’s relational and emotional lives, domestic practices, marriage, singlehood and maternity. Papers consider how women negotiate enhanced space and reputations, challenging negative representations and entrenched models of intra-family and intimate relations. There is also a warning about too free feminist expectations of agency and the repercussions of the exercise of agency.
The three essays in Part II examine the historical construction of masculinities in colonial and postcolonial South and Southeast Asia, and the ways that manhood is interpreted, experienced and performed in daily life in the past and in present times. They highlight the centrality and continued relevance of masculinity to analyses of empire and nation and underscore the highly gendered and (hetero)sexualized nature of political, military, and economic institutions.
Collectively, the essays explore a wide range of competing articulations and experiences of gender within Asia, emphasising the historical and contemporary plurality and variability of femininity and masculinity, and the dynamic and intersectional nature of gender identities and relations.
This book was published as a special issue of Asian Studies Review.
Table of Contents
Part I: Everyday Agency of Women in Asia
1. Introduction: The Everyday Agency of Women in Asia Lyn Parker and Laura Dales
2. ‘‘Northern Girls’’: Cultural Politics of Agency and South China’s Migrant Literature Wanning Sun
3. Left-behind and Vulnerable? Conceptualising Development and Older Women’s Agency in Rural China Tamara Jacka
4. Problematic Conjugations: Women’s Agency, Marriage and Domestic Violence in Indonesia Siti Aisyah and Lyn Parker
5. Ohitorisama, Singlehood and Agency in Japan Laura Dales
Part II: Masculinities in Asia
6. Masculinities in Asia: A Review Essay Chie Ikeya
7. A Collision of Masculinities: Men, Modernity and Urban Transportation in American-Colonial Manila Michael D. Pante
8. Obscenity, Moral Contagion and Masculinity: Hijras in Public Space in Colonial North India Jessica Hinchy
Lyn Parker is a Professor in Asian Studies, School of Social Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. She is a social and cultural anthropologist who specializes in Indonesia.
Laura Dales is Lecturer in Asian Studies, School of Social Sciences at The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. She researches contemporary Japanese society, with a particular focus on gender.
Chie Ikeya is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA. Her research concerns the social and cultural histories of modern Southeast Asia, with a focus on women and gender, race, colonialism, and nationalism in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Burma (Myanmar).