Women, Property, and Confucian Reaction in Sung and Yuan China (960-1368)

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This book argues that the Mongol invasion of China in the thirteenth century precipitated a lasting transformation of marriage and property laws that deprived women of their property rights and reduced their legal and economic autonomy. It describes how indigenous social change combined with foreign invasion and cultural confrontation to bring laws more into line with the goals of the radical Confucian philosophers, who wished to curtail women's financial and personal autonomy. This book provides a reevaluation of the Mongol invasion and its influence on Chinese law and society, and presents a new look at the changing position of women in premodern China.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...an outstanding contribution to the social and legal history as well as gender studies of late imperial China. The author impressed me with her meticulous and exciting scholarship, the careful and solid presentation of findings, and the wealth of textual sources used...Birge's reinterpretation of the social, economic, and legal history of the Sung and Yuan dynasties is thought provoking and stimulating. It sets a standard that will be difficult to surpass, and it opens up new intellectual horizons. This is a profound and fine piece of scholarship. I rank it as one of the best and most original works I have read in years on the subject and highly recommend it." Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies

"...the author is the first to demonstrate how Mongol views of women and marriage customs coincided with the views of Learning the Way of the scholars and to suggest how a new consensus limiting women's property was forged in the Yuan and following periods." Journal of Chinese Religions

"...presents an immense amount of information from official and private sources." History

"The book is a path-breaking study.... The author displays an impressive command of both the changing intellectual/social context and the legal framework of the transformation in women's property rights that she documents.... Birge is judicious...." The Journal of Asian Studies

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Women and property before the Sung: evolution and continuity; 2. Women and property in the Sung: legal innovation in changing times; 3. Women's property and Confucian reaction in the Sung; 4. The transformation of marriage and property law in the Yuan; Conclusion.
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