What enables women to hold firm in their beliefs in the face of long years of hostile persecution by the Communist party/state? How do women withstand daily discrimination and prolonged hardship under a Communist regime which held rejection of religious beliefs and practices as a patriotic duty? Through the use of archival and ethnographic sources and of rich life testimonies, this book provides a rare glimpse into how women came to find solace and happiness in the flourishing, female-dominated traditions of local Islamic women’s mosques, Daoist nunneries and Catholic convents in China. These women passionately – often against unimaginable odds – defended sites of prayer, education and congregation as their spiritual home and their promise of heaven, but also as their rightful claim to equal entitlements with men.
1. Women, Religion and Space During Times of China’s Political Transformation Part 1: Late Imperial and Republican China: History, Religion and Space - Daoist and Muslim Women in Kaifeng 2. Religious Pluralism and The Place of Kaifeng in Women’s History 3. Women-Led Religious Spaces and Modern Times 4. The Jiuku Miao in Kaifeng: Diverse Memories of a Women’s Daoist Temple 5. Investing Muslim Women’s Traditions with Modern Meaning Part 2: Republican China Modernization, Religion and Space – Catholic Women in Kaifeng 6. Contesting Female Space in Changing Times: The Catholic Providence Sisters and Chinese Catechists 7. Catholic Virgins and the Growth of Local Spaces for Women 8. The Tradition of Catholic Shouzhen Guniang in Jingang 9. A Political Campaign to Re-map Gendered Space, 1949-1958 Part 3: Communist China, and Beyond Women, Religion and Space in Contemporary Chinese Society 10. The Zhengzhou Beida Women’s Mosque: Tradition, Modernity and Identity 11. The Jiuku Miao: From Marginality to Legitimacy 12. Being Female, Being Celibate, Being Catholic. Conclusion: Women, Religion and Space: Freedom, Dependency and Inter-Dependence