- Fellowship year:2021-2022
- University: Northwestern University
- Dissertation Topic/Category: China
- Dissertation Title: “Destined to Marry?” —Marriage Renunciation and Reform for Women in Republican China (1890-1937)
Lois’s dissertation focuses on a cohort of “Committed Single” women in early twentieth-century China who publicly abjured marriage to actualize a gender-egalitarian vision of modern Chinese womanhood. The project examines their efforts first to combat the mainstream, essentialist paradigm that premised women’s empowerment on their significance in nation-building as wives and mothers and then to proposes an alternative, egalitarian vision where women must be valued as individual citizens regardless of their gender roles. This dissertation unravels a crucial phrase of Chinese women’s national identity formation, and
illuminates the gendered nature of nationalism in China and the deep societal anxiety over women’s individualism and “over-empowerment” that continues to shape discussions today on education, marriage choices, and body politics.