Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155619
Title: THROUGH THE EYES OF THE SPARROW: MAHJONG, MODERNITY, AND WOMEN IN REPUBLICAN SHANGHAI
Authors: LOH KE YUN
Keywords: Mahjong
Modernity
Women
Republican Shanghai
Issue Date: 22-Apr-2019
Citation: LOH KE YUN (2019-04-22). THROUGH THE EYES OF THE SPARROW: MAHJONG, MODERNITY, AND WOMEN IN REPUBLICAN SHANGHAI. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This study seeks to use mahjong as a lens to explore the interplay of modernity and gender in Republican Shanghai (1912-1949). The focus on the three elements of mahjong, modernity, and women are as follows. Firstly, mahjong was a popular form of activity that was enjoyed by both the Chinese and the foreign community in Republican Shanghai. Secondly, both state and elite discourse were dominated by the idea of modernity during the Republican Period. Lastly, women were strongly associated to mahjong and were also key targets to the national discourse of modernity. Considering the above relations, I aim to examine the ways in which the association between mahjong and both Chinese and Western women respectively were shaped by the prevailing discourse of modernity. With regards to the title, mahjong is also colloquially referred to as sparrows in China. As such, the title “Through the Eyes of the Sparrow” symbolizes the use of mahjong to explore broader issues such as gender and modernity. Based on my research, I contend that the discussion on women’s playing of mahjong reflected tensions over contesting versions of modernity in Republican Shanghai. In general, people’s opinions about women’s enjoyment of the game depended on whether mahjong was seen to be compatible or antagonistic to their own definition of modernity. Mahjong thus came to represent anxieties over changing expectations of women's role in society as a result of the multiple conceptualizations of modern values. As such, the association between mahjong and women coincided and paralleled the wider discourse of modernity which was fraught with tensions and anxieties.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155619
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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