2012 Conference

China and Inner Asia Session 219

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Roundtable: Methods of Writing History Before and After the Scholarship of Susan Mann

Organizer: Joan Judge, York University, Canada

Chair: Dorothy Ko, Barnard College, Columbia University, USA

Discussants: Nhung Tuyet Tran, University of Toronto, Canada; Ann Waltner, University of Minnesota, USA; Beverly Bossler, University of California, Davis, USA; Ellen Widmer, Wellesley College, USA; Dorothy Ko, Barnard College, Columbia University, USA

This roundtable is an extension of the panel on “Gender Paradigms Before and After the Scholarship of Susan Mann.” It continues the panel’s examination of the impact of Mann’s scholarship by taking up particular themes addressed in the full online versions of the individual papers. Its focus is more directly on methodology, however, particularly on how Mann’s work has opened up new approaches to the study of Chinese, comparative, and global history. Each of the five participants will spend ten to twelve minutes discussing the methodological ramifications of one topic related to Mann’s scholarship. Tran will directly address the cross-border implications of Mann’s gender analysis by examining its impact on the writing of South-East Asian history. Waltner will discuss modes of narrativizing history and how the story-telling mode at which Mann excels facilitates the writing of comparative and global history. Bossler follows up on Wu’s panel paper in exploring new approaches to masculinity and kinship suggested by Mann’s work. Widmer examines the disjunction between the image of the guixiu as woman of talent and household manager captured in Mann’s scholarship, and the reductive critique of the guixiu in the late Qing era. Ko probes how Mann’s work challenges us to identify new units of historical analysis. Each presenter will be attentive to one overriding question that will also be the focus of discussion from the floor in the second hour: how does the gender lens change our understanding of history?