Dorothy Ko, Professor of History, Barnard College
Previous studies of China’s modernization have focused on the modern half of the story–the development of factory production and urban culture. Profesor Ko’s current research project seeks to illuminate the “traditional” half of the story, with an emphasis on the resilience of female labor in the domestic economy and artistic innovations in the handicraft industries from the seventeenth to the early twentienth centuries. This talk focuses on the global presentations and domestic reception of Shen Shou, one of the most innovative embroiderers from Suzhou, the center of the silk industry in China. In particular, Professor Ko focuses on her visit to Japan in 1904-05 and participation in world expos to explore the changing definitions of femininity, skill, and visual realism in a global context.