In this session, we will explore the history of footbinding in China and its long-standing presence in Chinese society. Though the precise origins of footbinding are obscured by legend and folklore, sources can help us understand the campaigns aimed at eliminating the practice. In line with this year's theme of China's impact on the outside world, we will examine the West's fascination with footbinding and how this practice was used to construct a negative image of China. We will also discuss campaigns by Chinese activists and those led by Western missionaries against footbinding, to compare their varying understandings of the practice and its role in Chinese society.
The Chinese History Study Group meets monthly – generally the second Wednesday of each month, October through July. Our members select and research topics of personal interest within the themes, make brief oral presentations, and then engage in discussion with those attending the talk. Each month one or two members discuss their topics.