Accepted Paper:

Christian education and transformation of female self-consciousness in modern China: a study on Bingxin's Bridgman Academy experience  

Author:

Tong Meng (Jinan University)

Paper short abstract:

Bridgman Academy, as the first girls' school in Beijing, played an important role in the women's liberation movement. This study will be based on Bingxin's Bridgman Academy experience and will try to find out the relationship between Christian education and the transformation of female self-consciousness.

Paper long abstract:

The transformation of self-consciousness was an important part of the women's liberation in Modern China. Current researches usually focus on the consciousness before or after transformation, but neglecting why this process starts. Protestant in China was one of its driving forces. Missionaries tried to blend in Chinese society by establishing schools, and girls' schools were critical components of them. Those Christian girl's schools not only promoted modernization of Chinese education, but also made contributions to women's liberation.

Bridgman Academy was the first Christian girls' school in Beijing, and witnessed the whole process of women's liberation movement in China. At first, its aim was spreading the gospel and saving poor girls in China. After a reform at the end of the 19th century, it turned to teach knowledge and cultivate social responsibility of girls, while keeping its religious characters. Bridgman Academy, and other Christian girl's schools, did play important roles during Chinese women's liberation movement. They introduced thoughts of woman's rights, and promoted woman's ideological emancipation.

Bingxin 冰心,with a high status in the field of modern Chinese literature, was one of the most distinguished alumna of Bridgman Academy. Her self-consciousness was affected by the edification of western feminist thoughts and Christianity during school days, and finally transformed.

This study will be based on Bingxin's Bridgman Academy experience and other historical materials, and try to find out the relationship between Christian education and transformation of female self-consciousness in modern China.

Panel P127
Gender and unfinished modernity project: 19th century reforms and 21st century reflections (Commission on Anthropology of Women)