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Women and Property in China, 960-1949

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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The inheritance rights of daughters from the Song through the Qing; 2. The inheritance rights of widows from the song through the Qing; 3. Widows and patrilineal succession in the early republican period; 4. Property inheritance under the republican civil code; 5. Widows' inheritance under the republican code; 6. Daughters' inheritance rights under the republican code; 7. The property rights of concubines in the imperial and republican periods; Conclusion; References; Character list; Index.

About the Author

Kathryn Bernhardt is Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles.


"This is an original and wholly new analysis of changes in women's inheritance rights in China... With her mastery of the legal code and the language of casebooks, as well as her access to unique archival collections, Bernhardt's findings rest on an irreproachable mass of data; the book is a classic example of careful scholarship." - Susan Mann, University of California, Davis "Using research from 430 actual cases during the period covered ... Bernhardt emphasizes how the laws were applied in practice rather than what those laws actually mandated... As such, the book is a valuable addition to scholarship on Chinese history, and more specifically the complex history of Chinese women." - History: Reviews of New Books "A particularly impressive contribution of this book is its sketch of long-term trends in Chinese inheritance law from the Song through Qing periods... Bernhardt's findings here are important and raise many questions for social and cultural historians to tackle, both concerning the cultural environment that led to these legal innovations and the impact of them on the choices families mad as they maneuvered around the law... Bernhardt has immersedherself in Chinese legal writings and excels at explicating judges' decisions." - Journal of Asian Studies "Bernhardt's impressives study ... will greatly facilitate comparative study of the concepts of family and property and takes research on legal reform in modern China to a new level." - Choice "The book demonstrates the difficulties involved in changing norms embedded in a society over a long period of time. It also gives us insights into the problems when foreign concepts are introduced, as well as going into the importance of changes in inheritance rules for family relations, status, the economic situation, etc. Those who deal with issues involved in the introduction of ownership of property by women and rights of inheritance on the part of women in societies in which these concepts are still unknown should definitely read this book." - Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture

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