Mencius and Masculinities: Dynamics of Power, Morality, and Maternal Thinking

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SUNY Press, Feb 1, 2012 - Philosophy - 168 pages
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In this innovative work, Joanne D. Birdwhistell presents the first gender analysis of the Mencius, a central text in the Chinese philosophical tradition. Mencian philosophy, particularly its ideas about the processes by which a man could develop into a cultivated gentleman, was important to the political thought of China’s long imperial order. Through close textual readings, Birdwhistell offers a new interpretation of core Mencian ideas about the heart and the self-cultivation of the great man. She argues that the concept of masculinity advocated by the Mencius is derived, although without acknowledgment, from maternal practices and thinking—through processes of appropriation, inversion, and transformation. She illustrates that even though maternal practices and thinking are an invisible dimension of Mencian thought, they are constantly present in the text through their transcoding with agricultural practices and thinking.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Questions Issues and Perspectives
7
2 Text As Cultural Landscape
21
3 Against Shen Nongs Agrarian Masculinity
39
4 Against King Huis SelfCentered Masculinity
51
Dynamics References and Practices
63
6 Ruling As Son and Younger Brother
75
7 Ruling As Father and Mother of the People
89
8 Mothers Feelings and Masculinity
111
9 Gender a Continuing Issue
133
Notes
141
Bibliography
149
Index
155
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Joanne D. Birdwhistell is Professor Emerita of Philosophy and Asian Civilization at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. She is the author of Li Yong (1627–1705) and Epistemological Dimensions of Confucian Philosophy and Transition to Neo-Confucianism: Shao Yung on Knowledge and Symbols of Reality.

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