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The Gender of MemoryRural Women and China's Collective Past$
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Gail Hershatter

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267701

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267701.001.0001

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(p.236) 9 Laborer
The Gender of Memory

Gail Hershatter

University of California Press

This chapter explores the entwinement of the campaign time of the state with the domestic time of the household during the Great Leap Forward and the subsequent famine in China. It explains that the objective of the Great Leap Forward was to reorganize every aspect of rural life and that the expansive utopian plans promised to relieve women of domestic tasks so that their labor could be devoted to these new projects. It suggests that the women's field labor from the late 1950s to the end of the collective era in the early 1980s was an important component of the national economic strategy on which subsequent economic reform has been built.

Keywords:   domestic time, Great Leap Forward, famine, rural life, domestic tasks, field labor, collective era, economic strategy, economic reform, China

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