The construction and imagination of Chin's margins - ethnic, political, socio-cultural, geographical, religious - has long engrossed China scholars, from anthropological works such as William Skinner's classic study of historical geography and the macro region model, to travel writers from Marco Polo to San Mao, to ethnographies of Chinese minorities and new Qing histories.
In recent years, academic attention has widened its scope to new margins including environmental histories of China's politically contested borders, and the projection of China's soft power in contemporary science fiction that claims space as the newest frontier of the Sinosphere. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the role of gender in imagining and creating China's shifting centers and peripheries.
What and where are these margins and what role does gender play in their contruction and imagination? Whi are the inhabitants of the largins: minorities, women, religious groups, itinerants, disabled people and the poor? In what ways does gender condition their experience of the peripheral spaces in which they operate? What are the social and gendered implications of traversing these bounderies - personal, political or physical? How do marginal actors negotiate their place at the borders and what is the impact of their positioning and perspectives on the very conception of Chineseness? A gendered perspective can better help scholars to transverse and dissect the borders of China, historically, socially, politically and geographically, and throw new light onto their fluid and permeable construction across time and space.