2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

One Thousand Years of Footbinding in China: Pure Eroticism or Blatant Subordination?
Marcelina E. Powers
Dr. David Robinson, Faculty Mentor

In China during the Sung Dynasty (960 to 1279 CE), there emerged a new tradition for higher classes of women. This tradition, known as footbinding, lasted nearly one thousand years and had an impact on many aspects of Chinese life: economic, cultural, social, and personal. The reasons for the emergence and longevity of footbinding as such an important and widespread practice vary greatly, depending on which historian's research one consults. The significance of footbinding is still debated to this day; indeed it has become a hot-button issue in some second- and third-wave feminist writings during the seventies and nineties and into the new millennium. Although all historians agree that footbinding was an extremely cruel and pervasive practice in China, they do not agree on the reasons for its longevity and popularity. This historiographic study identifies and describes a variety of historians' views on the practice of footbinding.

Keywords: footbinding, china, women

Asian Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 29-1
Location: OP 2113
Time: 9:45

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