City of Working Women: Life, Space, and Social Control in Early Twentieth-Century Beijing

Book Cover


Cheng, Weikun
China Research Monograph 64
2011. 287 pp.
ISBNs 1-55729-098-9 and 978-1-55729-098-4

Situating laboring-class women in the larger context of the political liberalization and the profound social and economic transformations in late Qing and early Republican Beijing, this book presents a nuanced picture of women's potentials and possibilities, and their dangers and anxieties, in a rapidly changing city. The work is a major contribution to feminist scholarship, balancing two approaches: treating women as agents and using gender as an analytical category. Also, its focus on lower-class women's use of urban public space opens a new dimension in the study of modern Chinese cities. The work contains solid research based on a variety of original sources, including local archives, newspapers and magazines, memoirs, social surveys, and interviews.

Professor Cheng studied under Bill Rowe and received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1995. He taught at California State University, Chico, where a unanimous vote approved his promotion to full professor a month before he passed away in an accident in 2007.


Preface – vii

Introduction – 1

1. Women in the City – 21

2. Livelihood – 48

3. Neighborhood – 73

4. Leisure – 98

5. Actresses – 134

6. Prostitutes – 165

7. Policing Women – 197

Conclusion – 231

Bibliography – 238

Index – 259

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