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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55128
Doc. No:TL25082
Call number:‭3312540‬
Main Entry:Karen May-Shen Teoh
Title & Author:A girl without talent is therefore virtuous: Educating Chinese women in British Malaya and Singapore, 1850s–1960sKaren May-Shen Teoh
College:Harvard University
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:257
Abstract:The history of English- and Chinese-medium girls' schools that overseas Chinese founded and attended from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries in colonial Malaya and Singapore reveals the conflicts between constructions of modernization and ethnic Chinese identity, and how female education, as an integral component of both processes, created situations in which society and individuals have had to grapple with the challenge of resolving these contradictions within themselves. Using a combination of archival materials and oral histories, this study takes a cross-cultural and comparative perspective, looking into the motivations and strategies of various groups (European missionaries, colonial authorities and Chinese nationalists) for educating girls, and the influence that this education had on the formation of ethnic identities among overseas Chinese women. To the various authorities involved, managing the female population through formal training fit into the vital agenda of propelling society towards modernity, even as the definition of "modern" varied across time and community. At the same time, girls' schools continued to stress the importance of what they perceived as significant feminine virtues. Chinese girls were being sent out of the home to be equipped with new knowledge, work skills, cultural orientations and political awareness, only to be brought back into the home to fulfill their roles as household managers, teachers of their children, and, at least in theory, guardians of cultural traditions. As key venues for the emergence of tension between modernization and cultural conservatism within the Chinese diasporic community, girls' schools are a lens through which we can view the manifestation of a common anxiety: the potential loss of traditional values and ethnic authenticity in a rapidly globalizing environment. Up to and beyond the period of decolonization in the late 1950s, transnational forces such as British imperialism and Chinese nationalism pulled Chinese migrants in disparate directions. For overseas Chinese women—a population thrice marginalized by its gender, ethnicity and migrant status in a European colony—the competing demands of these diverse forces created a range of ways in which they formulated their identities as women, as Chinese, and as part of a transnational diaspora.
Subject:Social sciences; Education; British colonialism; Chinese; Female education; Girls' schools; Malaysia; Overseas Chinese; Singapore; Women; Cultural anthropology; History; Womens studies; Education history; Gender studies; 0326:Cultural anthropology; 0453:Womens studies; 0733:Gender studies; 0332:History; 0520:Education history
Added Entry:P. Kuhn
Added Entry:Harvard University