Upcoming presentation at MLA on costuming and chastity in the Qing China

I’ll be presenting a chapter of my book manuscript at the 2017 MLA annual convention in Philadelphia. Below is the info about the panel and my presentation:

Session 755. Bodies, Clothing, and Spaces in Early Modern China
12:00 noon+1:15 p.m. on 08-JAN-17 in 410, Philadelphia Marriott.

My presentation:

Seamless Clothing: Boundaries of the Female Body in a Seventeenth-century Chinese Drama

The Manchu invasion into central China in the mid-seventeenth century disrupted traditional gender relations. Chinese drama in this period constituted an especially rich space for representing this disruption. This paper examines the depictions of the female body in an early Qing drama Hai Liefu chuanqi (Chaste Lady Hai). The drama is based on a real event in 1667 when a lady surnamed Hai stitched together her entire outfit to defend against sexual assault before committing suicide. After her death, Lady Hai received public worship from the local community and commendation from the Manchu state. By looking at the drama’s descriptions of the chaste lady’s stitched clothes, her body, her coffin, her statue, and her shrine, the paper argues that women’s socially constructed body became a mediator to reconcile the ethnic conflicts during the dynastic change in the seventeenth-century China.


Imperial commendation of Chaste Lady Hai,
stele 1667, reproduced in woodblock print 1844