B.A.,Haverford College, 2009, East Asian Studies
Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Wasserstrom
First Field: Chinese history
Second Field: World history
Thematic Emphasis: 20th century China, Gender & Sexuality, History of Medicine
How did women and their partners prevent unwanted, unauthorized births in Mao's China? I am researching birth control in the People's Republic of China before the start of the One-Child Policy in 1979. While some scholars have written more generally about national birth policies and changing sexual patterns between 1949 and 1979, little work has been done on the actual implementation of state policies. I am particularly interested in birth control measures during some of China's most tumultuous periods, like the Great Leap Forward (1958-1961), a period of mass famine during agricultural collectivization, and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), in which Chairman Mao and his posse of Red Guards mobilized total class warfare, closing schools, destroying religious and cultural artifacts, sending urban youth to work in the countryside, and allegedly purging the nation of those with capitalist tendencies. I consider how Red Guards, young people often traveling the country in co-ed revolutionary bands, and Chinese people in general, dealt with out-of-wedlock or unapproved pregnancies.