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Zhang, Hong

Grant Type: 
Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Colby College
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
May 31, 2002
Project Title: 
Zhang, Dr. Hong, Colby College, Waterville, ME - To aid research and writing on 'In the Shadow of Patriarchy: Gender, Marriage, and Social Transformation in Central China' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship

DR. HONG ZHANG, of Colby College, Waterville, Maine, was awarded a Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship in May 2002 to aid research and writing on 'In the Shadow of Patriarchy: Gender, Marriage, and Social Transformation in Central China.' Research and writing focused on a central China village from 1900 to 2001. Patriarchal and patrilineal principles have long been regarded as the quintessential features of what it means to be Han Chinese and the key to Chinese political authority and control. This view has led scholars to treat Chinese society as essentially and predominantly focused on male authority and privilege in the areas of social organization, family life, inheritance, residence, and gender relations. The current research revisits these assumptions of patriarchal dominance, examining the contestation and manipulation of that dominance in everyday social practice. It does so by looking closely at an issue of ostensibly minor importance - uxorilocal marriage, in which a man reverses the normative marriage pattern by marrying into his wife's family. Through reconstructing the collective history of marriage practices through the memories and life experience of the villagers who made this history from 1900 to 2001, this study documents the viability of uxorilocal marriages despite the hegemonic ideals of the Chinese patriarchal and patrilineal system, and demonstrates how rural family structures and marriage strategies have adapted to the rapidly changing social, demographic, economic, and political contexts of twentieth-century China.