P60. Women in Colonial and Contemporary Asia

Session: Session 8, 8:30-10:00 am, Sunday 10/1

Category: Individual Papers

Location: Technology

Chair: Haiyi Li (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

Paper Presenter: Sungha Yun (St. Olaf College), Miao Dou (Washington University in St. Louis), Aulia Rahmawati (NIPA School of Administration Jakarta)

Wŏn Buddhism and Women’s Liberation: The Significance of Wŏn Buddhist Female Clerics (kyomu) in Early Modern Korea

Speaker: Sungha Yun
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: St. Olaf College
Abstract: For Korean women, the Japanese colonial period was a transitional period in which Confucian patriarchal culture still prevailed, but some options for a social identity outside the home as “new women” were beginning to emerge. In this era, Sot’aesan, the founder of Wŏn Buddhism, put forward the teaching of “equal rights for men and women” as one of the core doctrines of Wŏn Buddhism and opened the way for many women to find their true selves through Buddhist teachings and practices. This path was that of becoming kyomu (Wŏn Buddhist ordained clerics). By analyzing the biographies of the first 146 female kyomu, this paper sheds light on how these devotees were transformed from women with no identities outside the home into Buddhist masters, or mothers of the world.

Youth Membership, Girls, and Female Youth: revisiting Tian Han’s Golden Era

Speaker: Miao Dou
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: Washington University in St. Louis
Abstract: This paper explores the image of female youth during the intensified period of Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) using Tian Han’s drama Golden Era as an illustration. While previous scholarship either focuses the feminist perspective of Tian Han’s 1940s spoken dramas (Xiaomei Chen) or the propaganda function of Tian Han’s anti-Japanese dramas (Jie Zhixi), my paper uses girlhood studies as a point of departure and draws attention to the relationship among youth (qingnian) as revolutionary agents, gender as a revolutionary category, and drama as a genre of wartime mobilization. Comparing different young women characters and different identity references (nühai, qingnian, xiaojie, taitai) in Golden Era against the background of youth discourse competition among the Communist, the Nationalist, and Nanjing Collaborationist regime, I argue that the physical weakness and mental strength characterized by the female youth figure was used by anti-Japanese drama as an exemplar to revitalize the Communist army’s wartime morale.

A Woman’s Winding Road to the Position of Provincial Secretary: Meritocracy vs. Political Proximity

Speaker: Aulia Rahmawati
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: NIPA School of Administration Jakarta

This research examines the recruitment of women to the highest bureaucratic leadership position in the province and the obstacles they face. Our argument was based on the fact that very few women work at the highest levels of government in the provincial level, as a result of both the strong glass ceiling and the tremendous political pressure that affects recruitment patterns. The study used mixed-methods with comparative case studies of women in regional secretary positions in four provinces in and analyzed an original time-series dataset of women in high-level government offices in Indonesia obtained from Public Official Leadership Training at the National Institute of Public Administration.