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Surviving on the outskirts of Beijing: The life stories and memories of women in Sijiqing township, 1960–1969

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
This thesis investigates how young women in Sijiqing, a rural-urban interface area on the outskirts of Beijing in the 1960s, navigated the challenges posed by the Communist Party's policies and restrictions between the Great Famine, the post-Famine years, and the early years of the Cultural Revolution. Through oral history materials and interviews, it challenges patriarchal historical narratives by focusing on the stories of women ranging from eldest daughters in rural households to young, unmarried rural women, and even a rebellious "hooliganish" girl in an urban household. Born between the late 1930s and early 1950s, these women made choices influenced by their unique family roles, personalities, and experiences. The thesis explores the impact of political movements on their lives, how they coped with adversity, and the Party's role in shaping their life paths. Despite limited space for individual decision-making, these young women demonstrated remarkable resilience in navigating a complex socio-political landscape. This study relies on three oral storytelling methods: "speaking bitterness," "chitchatting," and "confessions" to reveal women's survival strategies and shed light on their agency in a challenging environment.
102 pages.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Brown, Jeremy
Thesis advisor: Cheek, Timothy
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