Copenhagen ADI Conference 2016
8th annual international ADI conference
Asian Dynamics Initiative
University of Copenhagen 20-22 June 2016

Feminist activism in the PRC: Generational changes, global connections

Conveners: Cecilia Milwertz, NIAS, University of Copenhagen and Elisabeth Engebretsen, University of Oslo

With a focus on how feminists speak and act in diverse publics to address gender issues and injustice more broadly, this panel is concerned with the changing practices of political activism in the People’s Republic of China. We are particularly interested in looking at similarities and differences in modes of organizing and activism between what we suggest is a generational divide on many levels. On the one hand, there is the first generation of bottom-up organizing that started in the late 1980s with the establishment of women’s NGOs that work strategically with the political authorities and foreign donors to achieve their aims. On the other hand, we are now seeing the emergence of a truly independent form of feminist activism by a younger generation, one that utilizes art forms such as ad-hoc street performances and social media platforms, within and beyond the country itself. The younger generation of activists also includes workers' NGOs that work both with and without the party-state. The questions we address will include: What relations do the two generations of activists, as well as different social groups within and beyond these generations, have to the domestic party-state, to foreign development aid donors, to transnational movements and to each other? What do the two generations of activists aim to achieve and what have they achieved? To what extent do these generational changes illustrate broader transnational trends in social justice activism and organizing against state-sanctioned inequality in and beyond feminist politics? The panel is open to papers that deal with one of the generations, one or several of the different forms of organizing or with comparisons between generations.