Women and Confucian Cultures in Premodern China, Korea, and Japan

By Dorothy Ko; Jahyun Kim Haboush et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TEN
Discipline and Transformation
Body and Practice in the Lives of
Daoist Holy Women of Tang China
Suzanne E. Cahill

This study investigates an extraordinary group of women who lived in the context of Confucian society: Daoist holy women of the Tang dynasty (618–807). It examines issues of female body and text and highlights the centrality of the body as the location of practice and change. Here I link body, gender, discipline, and liberation in the lives of these women. All the chapters in this volume fracture and complicate our definitions of “Confucianism. ” This chapter promotes inclusive understandings of Confucianism and discourages superficial contrasts between Daoist and Confucian values.

We begin by admitting the relativity of our terms. Such apparently simple terms as “body, ” “gender, ” “discipline, ” and “liberation” have been regarded in different ways at different times and places. We know that the body has not always been perceived as the same whole we understand now. Nor has it always been dismembered and divided from an internal self. Notions of gender are culturally constructed: some go so far as to claim gender is not a state but a performance. Even sex, which we place in the realm of science and assume we can distinguish clearly, does not escape cultural construction. Discipline, viewed by many today as limiting individual freedom, is regarded by others as a path to individual liberation. When the medieval Chinese holy women considered here disciplined their bodies to achieve liberation, they did so in the context of the Daoist religion. 1

The terms “Confucianism” and “Daoism” also need definition for the purposes of this discussion. Confucians and Daoists have often been construed as opposites and rivals, with Confucianism representing the hierarchical standards and structures of the Chinese patriarchy and imperium and Daoism embodying more egalitarian, individual, and even eccentric values. The medieval reality is more complex. Tang Confucianism included commitment to the ethical priorities expressed in the ancient Confucian canonical texts and their later commentaries, together with dedication to the ideals of official service in the imperial bureaucracy under

-251-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Upgrade your membership to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Women and Confucian Cultures in Premodern China, Korea, and Japan
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved in your active project from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 337

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Upgrade your membership to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.