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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Room LG18, Law Faculty (Sidgwick Site)
Event date: 
Wednesday, 16 November, 2022 - 17:00
Event organiser: 

China Research Seminar Series talk given by Dr Amanda Zhang, University of St. Andrews

Social and women’s history of 20th century China predominantly categorise civilian women’s wartime contribution as a supportive one from the rear.

This talk counterbalances existing perspectives by exploring the history of civilian women operatives who were attached to the peripheries of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intelligence and security operations from the 1930s to the 1950s.

During this period civilian women were not recruited to engage in physical combat because both male and female party officials thought them too physically weak. Instead, these women were considered excellent clandestine operative material, and many of them frequently ventured into the frontlines and beyond, spying, engaging in sabotage or other forms of clandestine activities during the Sino-Japanese War (1937 – 1945) and the Chinese Civil War (1945 – 1949).

This talk will investigate the perils and possibilities that were available to these women via their relationship with the party, while addressing broader issues related to secret warfare, feminism, and women in China.

Amanda Zhang is postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Chinese Studies, University of St Andrews. Her research focuses on social, cultural and gender history in 20th century China. Her latest article “Post-1980s Remembrances of Female Wartime Experiences as Communist Underground Operatives During the Chinese Civil War (1945–1949)” is forthcoming with Twentieth Century China.
Professor Adam Yuet Chau: