This book brings together the work of scholars from around the world in a consideration of how gender is contested in various parts of Asia – in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines.
Part I of this collection explores notions of agency in relation to women's domestic and everyday lives. While "agency' is one of the key terms in contemporary social science, scholarship on women in Asia recently has focussed on women's political activism. Women's private lives have been neglected in this new scholarship. This volume has a special focus on women's relational and emotional lives, domestic practices, marriage, singlehood and maternity. Papers consider how women negotiate enhanced space and reputations, challenging negative representations and entrenched models of intra-family and intimate relations. There is also a warning about too free feminist expectations of agency and the repercussions of the exercise of agency.
The three essays in Part II examine the historical construction of masculinities in colonial and postcolonial South and Southeast Asia, and the ways that manhood is interpreted, experienced and performed in daily life in the past and in present times.They highlight the centrality and continued relevance of masculinity to analyses of empire and nation and underscore the highly gendered and (hetero)sexualized nature of political, military, and economic institutions.
Collectively, the essays explore a wide range of competing articulations and experiences of gender within Asia, emphasising the historical and contemporary plurality and variability of femininity and masculinity, and the dynamic and intersectional nature of gender identities and relations.
This book was published as a special issue of Asian Studies Review.