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Between birth and death : female infanticide in Nineteenth-Century China / Michelle T. King.

  • King, Michelle Tien
  • Books

About this work


This text locates a significant historical shift in the representation of female infanticide during the nineteenth century. It was during these years that the practice transformed from a moral and deeply local issue affecting communities into an emblematic cultural marker of a backwards Chinese civilization, requiring the scientific, religious, and political attention of the West. Using a wide array of Chinese, French and English primary sources, the book takes readers on an unusual historical journey, presenting the varied perspectives of those concerned with the fate of an unwanted Chinese daughter: a late imperial Chinese mother in the immediate moments following birth, a male Chinese philanthropist dedicated to rectifying moral behavior in his community, Western Sinological experts preoccupied with determining the comparative prevalence of the practice, Catholic missionaries and schoolchildren intent on saving the souls of heathen Chinese children, and turn-of-the-century reformers grappling with the problem as a challenge for an emerging nation.


Stanford, California : Stanford University Press, [2014]

Physical description

xiii, 250 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 223-241) and index.


Deciding a child's fate : women and birth -- Reforming customs : scholars and morality -- Seeing bodies : experts and evidence -- Saving souls : missionaries and redemption -- Reframing female infanticide : the emerging nation.



  • English

Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9780804785983
  • 0804785988