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Republican LensGender, Visuality, and Experience in the Early Chinese Periodical Press$
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Joan Judge

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520284364

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520284364.001.0001

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Liminal Sexualities

Liminal Sexualities

(p.176) 6 Liminal Sexualities
Republican Lens

Joan Judge

University of California Press

Chapter 6 explores a topic that hovers around the figure of the Republican Lady but is never directly broached: sexuality. The chapter approaches this elusive topic from two angles: through visual, photographic evidence and through textual material on prostitution. The visual evidence includes a series of courtesan albums that were produced by the same publishing house as Funü shibao and that were advertised and circulated within the same print world. The comparison of photographs of upright and fallen women in these two sources offers insights into the ways sexuality was encoded and decoded and into China’s shifting sexual economy in the early Republic. The textual evidence also takes us beyond the journal itself. We juxtapose the new, largely translated, social-scientific regulatory discourse on prostitution in the journal with the traces of ongoing intimate relations between the world of editors, journalists, and writers and the courtesan’s flower world.

Keywords:   sexuality, photographs, prostitution, courtesan, photography album, social science, regulation, sexual economy, flower world

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