Final Research Blog

This week I prepared my presentation and worked on completing the final draft of my paper. I have been adding more personal accounts and other primary sources to better support my thesis. The presentation really helped with the structure of my paper. When I was making my presentation, I realized that certain parts of my paper should be reorganized in a different way so it would flow better. I think it really helped, and my paper is more understandable and flows better now. I am still working on it though, and I plan to take it to the Writing Center one more time before I hand in the final draft of my capstone.

I have also continued to work on revising my title. Originally, it was very basic, so I wanted to make it more clear and interesting. However, I have still not been able to figure out a new title. I have never been very good with titles, so I have been going through a few different ones trying to decide on the best one. The title on my presentation was what I had come up with so far, but it is still quite basic and boring. I am hoping that going through all my research and paper again will help me come up with a better title.

Research Blog

On Wednesday, I was able to meet with Dr. Yun Zhu, who helped me to place my paper in a more cultural context. She gave me a few great recommendations which I have spent the weekend incorporating into my paper. She especially recommended I have a section devoted to explaining the traditional values of Confucianism, which has really helped describing the cultural context of my topic. I have also been working on passive voice in my paper. I will be taking my new draft to the writing center this week to have them review it and make sure I changed all the passive voice to active voice, as well as provide any critiques on my paper that need to be fixed.

This week, I mostly focused on forming my presentation. I have most of the slides finished, but I still need to go over them a few times to make sure that it flows correctly. Forming this presentation has helped with writing my paper because it helps to hear the arguments and structure of the paper out loud to test if they make sense and flow well together. I have also been working on revising my title to grab people’s attention more and be more interesting. My current title is “The Impact of the Reform and Opening Period on Chinese Women’s Rights,” which is kind of vague and boring. I am not very good with titles so I am still working on trying to form an interesting title.

Research Blog

This week, I worked on finding a few more examples to support my thesis in my paper. I had planned to go back to the writing center, but did not have time so I plan to go next week. This week I was also able to meet with Dr. Peter Lavelle, who is an expert in contemporary Chinese history. Taking his class on Contemporary Chinese History last semester helped me to decide on my topic for my capstone paper, so he was able to help me a great deal with my paper. He was able to show me a few sources to look into and dig deeper in to help form my final argument. The sources he gave me have helped to provide more support for my overall thesis. I was planning to meet with him earlier, but I wanted to make sure that I had done enough research and had a formed a good argument before I met with him. He was extremely helpful and gave me a few more sources to look into that I have incorporated into my paper. He also recommended I meet with his colleague, Dr. Yun Zhu, who is a professor here at Temple in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, with a focus on Chinese Literature and History. I reached out to her last week and she was kind enough to set up an appointment with me for Monday to discuss my paper. It will be really helpful to talk to an expert on Chinese Women’s Studies to hear her insights on the topic.

Research Blog

Class this week really helped me with revising my paper. My partner recommended I review my word choice. After I did that, I saw fixed many of the words that didn’t fit or there was a better word to use. I also fixed the passive voice in my paper. I tend to use it often so I went through the paper and found as many as I could. I took what I had written so far to the writing center to have them look it over. They were very helpful and helped me with the organization and fleshing out of the paper so it would be more clearer. I have been taking their advice as I finish writing the first full draft of my paper. While writing the first full draft, I have been focusing a lot on the organization of it. My goal at the beginning of the class was to organize the paper in a way that was easier to read and understand instead of chronologically, like I often do. So far, I think it is going well in terms of organization. I have been able to fill in a few more holes in the paper that I noticed were there when I wrote my last draft. There are still a few more I hope to fill before class on Wednesday.

Research Blog

This week, I continued to work on forming the part of my paper that focuses on the specific policies of the Reform and Opening Period. I’m going to keep working on it this upcoming week because I’m still missing a few aspects of it. I have also been looking up more primary sources to use. Once I began writing the first draft of my paper two weeks ago, I found holes in my paper where I wanted to include primary sources but did not have primary sources that would fit best. I have found more speeches given by Deng Xiaoping on the reforms and what he intended for them to do. I have also tried to find an archive in the area that has documents from this era, but I have not found one yet. I’m going to continue to look for more primary sources this week and hopefully find an archive that will have some. I also worked on the organization of my paper this week. When I first began writing it, I felt that it was very disorganized and difficult to follow. However, this week I focused on reorganizing a few things so it would be easier to follow. I have also been working on correcting the passive voice in my paper. I tried to go to the writing center this week, but I did not have enough time. Therefore, I plan to take what I have done so far to the writing center to see how I can improve it this upcoming week.

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This week I had a set back with my research. I was sick most of the week so I unfortunately didn’t accomplish as much as I planned to. When working on the first mini draft this week, I had some organization and structuring issues that I was trying figure out. I also had some trouble writing the draft because I did not know where to start at first. Therefore, I think the first draft came out a little disorganized and had many holes in information. I plan to remedy that this week with the second draft. Besides working on the first mini draft this week, I found a few more secondary and primary sources I plan to use in my final paper. I have been able to find more sources that I hope will help to plug a few of the information holes the first draft had. I’ve also been going back to many of the sources I have used before in order to look over that information again to see if I could use it to plug any of the information holes.

For the second mini draft, I have been working on explaining the Reform and Opening Period economic policies better. The first draft I wrote did not include much about the policies, so it has been my goal for this week to go more in depth into these policies in my paper. I hope that by doing this it provides more background for understanding why the policies were enacted and what they were intended to do.

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This week, I worked on my outline and first two paragraphs, as well as found a few more sources I plan to use for my final paper. Doing the outline helped me to find any missing holes in my research, which I have been working on filling. I have done more research and found more sources to build my section on the Mao and Post-Mao period to show the differences between the two and how women’s rights were affected after the Post-Mao era. In the Mao period, I have highlighted the many rights women received and how these rights were written into the Chinese Communist Constitution. Both my peer-review partners suggested providing more background on the Mao and Post-Mao, because not many people know too much about them. Therefore, I have been working on editing and providing more information on these two periods and the differences between them. Some of the sources I have found previously, such as “Personal Voices,” have good information on both periods, so I plan to use that as a source for this section, as well as a few others I have found after I began editing the section. The outline also helped because it helped me form my main arguments and determine any information I still need to research. For example, I am still working on researching the women’s organizations during this period to show the impact that they had.

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This week, I have been gathering more sources to finish forming my outline for my paper. Using the references from the sources I have found so far, I have been able to find more primary sources and economic data. From this, I have found speeches from notable members of the Chinese Communist Party on the new economic policies being put into place. These speeches describe the intentions of many of the economic policies, which has helped me to better form an analysis of these reforms. I have also been researching more into the representation women had in politics. “Continuity and change: women’s representation in reform-era Chinese politics” by Edmund Downie has been an informational source and has also led me to other good sources. Downie’s article led me to “A Preliminary Exploration of Mao Zedong’s Thoughts on Women’s Rights” by Mao Zedong. This has helped me in better understanding the beliefs about women’s rights and their roles in society that Mao Zedong had. This is important because under Mao, women gained more rights than they had had before, and the Reform and Opening Period resulted in the loss of many of those new freedoms they gained. “Women’s Political Participation in China: Struggling to Hold Up Half the Sky” by Jude Howell has also been an important source. It has been cited many times, so it will help me when I revise my historiography. Howell provides more information on women’s roles in politics and includes more information on how rural and urban women were involved differently.

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This week, I have been researching more primary sources. Using the many of the secondary sources I have found, I have looked at the references used in them. Work and Family in Urban China: Women’s Changing Experience Since Mao by Jiping Zuo has provided many useful primary and secondary sources that I have been researching more into. Her sources have included both interviews and economic data that will be helpful in providing evidence for my paper. The Readings of Series of Important Speeches by the General Secretary of Xi Jinping written by Xi Jinping has provided more information on the economic plans and policies that went into effect in the Reform and Opening Period. In these speeches, Xi describes what the policies were originally intended to do. Also, “How to Correctly Assess Two 30-years Before and During the Reform” by Hong Mei has helped me to better understand the economics of the policies and what they both achieved and did not achieve. Reading this, especially alongside Xi Jinping’s speeches, has helped me to form a better background of the reasons for implementing the policies that were implemented and the long-term economic effects of them.

I have also kept working on my outline. This has helped me to better layout how I plan to write my paper, as well as helped me to find any holes in my research that I need to explore in order to have a thorough final paper. For example, I have started looking more into the feminist groups that campaigned against the policies and the effect that they had.


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This week, I found a very informative book to help further my research. Work and Family in Urban China: Women’s Changing Experience Since Mao by Jiping Zuo discuss the state-socialist era from 1949-1980s, which is considered the Mao period, to the 1990s-Present, which is referred to as the Market Reform period. The Reform and Opening Period takes place in the 1980s, and this book discusses how this period had a lasting impact on women’s lives in China, which can still be seen today. It shows different sides of the story, with some arguments being that women were worse off during the Mao period because they were expected to both work and still take on all housework, while others argued that this was not the case and the Mao period allowed for a more gender equality than any other period in Chinese history. Jiping includes interviews from women lived during these period and who argue both cases. It also makes a point to discuss how urban and rural women were effected differently by the Reform and Opening period, which not many other articles and books discuss.

I also found an article titled “Women’s Employment Rights in China: Creating Harmony for Women in the Workforce” by Jamie Burnett. In this article, Burnett explains gender-based discrimination in the workforce in China and the different policies throughout contemporary Chinese history that assisted in gaining women more rights. She also argues about how female migrant workers experienced the most discrimination, which I can refer to when discussing how how rural and urban women had different experiences when it came to this period in my paper.

Another article I will use as a reference for my paper is “‘State Feminism’? Gender and Socialist State Formation in Maoist China” by Zheng Wang. In this article, Zheng discusses the Shanghai branch of the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) and role it had in socialist urban China. It was one of the only organizations to reach both rural and urban women and help to mobilize both. Zheng references a few of interviews from members of this mass organization, which I plan to research more.