Boudoir, Buddha, and Body: Re-Imagining Social and Religious Spaces for Women in Late Imperial China


Luce/ACLS Early Career Fellowships in China Studies – Long-Term


Religious Studies

Named Award

Long-term named award


"Boudoir, Buddha, and Body" offers a new window into women’s spatial, social, and spiritual positioning in late imperial China, from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries. It examines how literary sources represented women’s prominent yet problematic engagement with various religious spaces, especially Buddhist temples. By reconsidering religious sites as a “third social space” for Chinese women to extend and exceed the Confucian spatio-gendered “inside-outside” divide, this project argues that religious spaces, either physical or imagined, not only fused with and transcended the two established social spaces for women—boudoir and book—but also became a gendered system of ideas that traveled through books and bodily practices. Briefly, this project discusses women’s bodies in and as religious sites in Chinese literary imagination.