China´s Restless Young Women: Negotiating Gender, Class, and National Identities

How important is gender for young people in contemporary China? What challenges and aspirations are central to young Chinese women? This seminar will focus on how young women from China negotiate different expectations and identities both inside and outside their homeland.

Illustration photo.

Photo: Zhang Kaiyv on Unsplash

International time: 17:00 Beijing, 11:00 Oslo, 05:00 (AM) Washington DC.

Sign-up for the seminar


Image may contain: World, Product, Font, Line, Landmark.In Dreams of Flight: The Lives of Chinese Women Students in the West, Fran Martin explores how young Chinese women negotiate competing pressures on their identity while studying abroad. On one hand, unmarried middle-class women in the single-child generation are encouraged to develop themselves through international education, becoming independent, cosmopolitan, career-oriented individuals. On the other hand, strong neotraditionalist pressures from the state and from the family push them back toward marriage and family by age thirty.


Image may contain: Clothing, Smile, Skin, Facial expression, Dress.Kailing Xie's book Embodying Middle Class Gender Aspirations: Perspectives from China's Privileged Young Women throws light on how gender affects the lives of well-educated urban Chinese women born in the 1980s. This book examines gendered attitudes in China to marriage, reproductive choices, career choices, and aspirations for a good life.


Fran Martin

Image may contain: Person, Forehead, Hair, Nose, Smile.Associate Professor and Reader in Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne. Fran Martin has published widely on television, film, literature, Internet culture and other forms of cultural production in the contemporary transnational Chinese cultural sphere, with a specialisation in representations and cultures of gender and queer sexuality.

Kailing Xie

Image may contain: Forehead, Smile, Cheek, Lip, Hairstyle.Lecturer in International Development at the University of Birmingham. Kailing Xie’s work investigates the underlying social, cultural and political tensions underpinning China's economic success through the lens of gender.


Mimi Lau

Image may contain: Person, Face, Smile, Lip, Chin.Journalist for the South China Morning Post. She spent seven years as the Post's Guangzhou correspondent before returning to Hong Kong in 2017. Today, she continues to pursue stories across the country, reporting on key political and civil issues. She will chair this seminar.


Heidi Østbø Haugen

The seminar series is hosted by Heidi Østbø Haugen, professor of China Studies at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages. She heads the ERC-funded project Brokering China’s Extraversion: An Ethnographic Analysis of Transnational Arbitration (Brokex).


Other Events in the BROKEX Spring 2022 Seminar Series


China´s International Relations: South-South Perspectives

Date and time: 10 February 2022. 22:00 (Beijing), 15:00 (Oslo), 09:00 (EST). Sign-up.

Dawn Murphy: China's Rise in the Global South: The Middle East, Africa, and Beijing's Alternative World Order

Adam Grydehøj and Ping Su: China and the Pursuit of Harmony in World Politics: Understanding Chinese International Relations Theory

Discussant: Zeno Leoni


100 Years of Communism with Chinese Characteristics

Date and time: 3 March 2022. 23:00 (Beijing), 16:00 (Oslo), 10:00 (EST).  Sign-up.

Tony Saich: From Rebel to Ruler: One Hundred Years of the Chinese Communist Party

Bruce Dickson: The Party and the People: Chinese Politics in the 21st Century

Timothy Cheek: The Chinese Communist Party: A Century in Ten Lives

Discussant: Rebekka Åsnes Sagild


The Lives and Roles of Cadres in the Chinese Communist Party

Date and time: 4 May 2022. 21:00 (Beijing), 15:00 (Oslo), 09:00 (EST). Sign-up.

Julia Marinaccio: Linking Theory with Practice?: Cadre Training and Environmental Governance in China

Yunyun Zhou: Book project on communist women cadres' political encounters in China's local party-state 

Discussant: Hedda Faltø



The seminar is organised by Siv H. Oftedal and Kristian Sløgedal, as part of the project Brokering China’s Extraversion: An Ethnographic Analysis of Transnational Arbitration (Brokex). The project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 802070) and the Research Council of Norway (project ID 275002). 

EU- and ERC-logos


Published Jan. 25, 2022 1:26 PM - Last modified July 1, 2022 8:32 AM