Kang Youwei on the Subjection of Women

Journal of Chinese Philosophy 49 (3):227-239 (2022)
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This paper examines Kang Youwei’s view of sexual equality based on the study of his The Book of the Great Unity (Da Tong Shu 《大同書》). The paper shows that Kang’s critique of the subjection of women is the most systematic, profound, and fierce in the history of modern Chinese philosophy. Although his theory of the oppression of women and sexual equality is essentially the combination of liberalism, utilitarianism, and socialism, his work on the subject should be given a special place in modern feminist philosophy. Unlike Western feminist thinkers, Kang understood the suffering of oppressed women in non-Western countries, especially in China, and spoke out for them in a way that no one did before. The volume on women’s oppression and liberation in The Book of the Great Unity could be regarded as a book on the subjection of women in developing countries crossing cultures and religions.



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Xinyan Jiang
University of Redlands

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