Download Between Birth and Death : Female Infanticide in by Michelle T. King PDF


By Michelle T. King

ISBN-10: 0804785988

ISBN-13: 9780804785983

Girl infanticide is a social perform frequently heavily linked to chinese language tradition. reporters, social scientists, and historians alike emphasize that it's a results of the patience of son choice, from China's historic previous to its glossy current. but how is it that the killing of child daughters has end up so in detail linked to chinese language culture?

Between beginning and loss of life locates an important historic shift within the illustration of woman infanticide through the 19th century. It used to be in the course of those years that the perform remodeled from an ethical and deeply neighborhood factor affecting groups into an emblematic cultural marker of a backwards chinese language civilization, requiring the medical, non secular, and political consciousness of the West. utilizing a wide range of chinese language, French and English basic assets, the booklet takes readers on an strange ancient trip, proposing the various views of these considering the destiny of an undesirable chinese language daughter: a past due imperial chinese language mom within the fast moments following delivery, a male chinese language philanthropist devoted to rectifying ethical habit in his group, Western Sinological specialists preoccupied with picking the comparative occurrence of the perform, Catholic missionaries and schoolchildren cause on saving the souls of heathen chinese language little ones, and turn-of-the-century reformers grappling with the matter as a problem for an rising kingdom.

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Extra resources for Between Birth and Death : Female Infanticide in Nineteenth-Century China

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The sixth daughter lay sideways in her womb and would not come out. The pain cut like a sharp knife. Suddenly from the middle of her womb came the small voice of a child, who cried, “In your womb I took form five times, and each time you drowned me. Today I am once again in the form of a daughter, but I am afraid if I come out you will drown me again. 86 Infanticide was not generally prosecuted as a crime in late imperial China, and it may have been this very lack of earthly punishments that made female infanticide into such a popular topic in the genre of morality books.

69 Because morality books involved the karmic reckoning of good and bad behaviors, they often featured otherworldly beings, particularly Buddhist and Taoist deities. Whether or not humans were aware of it, invisible gods were always watching and recording their behavior, for future rewards or retribution. For example, the god Wenchang, patron saint of scholars, had in his possession the Cinnamon Record, in which he recorded the fates of all mortals, which could be altered by the performance of good or bad deeds.

But what if, instead of judging from the here and now, we attempt instead to imagine the view from then and there: what actions would have made sense to those who D e c i d i n g a C h i l d ’s F at e 17 were part of such a cultural system? Working within the constraints of the historical sources left to us, in this chapter I want to bring to life that crucial moment immediately after the birth of a daughter, when infanticide was not yet an act to be condemned, but a decision yet to be made. This approach brings us directly into the inner chambers of the Chinese family, into an almost exclusively female world.

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