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Dessie Miller

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Year of Publication: 2017

Miller, Dessie, Celebrating the Feminine: Daoist Connections to Contemporary Feminism in China, Vol. Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS), San Francisco, University of San Francisco, 2017, pp. 24

Discusses the evolution of the idea of feminism over the centuries in China and what may be called a “proto-feminism” concept, known as the Daodejing. Classical Chinese philosophy has influenced and helped shape what feminism is today in China. Dessie Miller analyzed the use of language in the Daodejing to demonstrate the feminine imagery throughout the text. She also deconstructed the characters that bear significance for feminist interpretations for the Dao and Yin-Yang in order to analyse their deeper meaning. Finally, she compared Confucianism and Daoism in order to provide a broader context and to show how they differ from each other. Lastly, she used contemporary feminist figures—such as Li Ruzhen, Qiu Jin, and the “Beijing Five”—as examples to show how Daoism was a precursor to and how it helped shape feminism in what is today’s China.