Dreams of Flight: The Lives of Chinese Women Students in the West

Fran Martin

Dreams of Flight: The Lives of Chinese Women Students in the West
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Dreams of Flight: The Lives of Chinese Women Students in the West

Fran Martin

In Dreams of Flight, Fran Martin explores how young Chinese women negotiate competing pressures on their identity while studying abroad.

On one hand, unmarried middle-class women in the single-child generations are encouraged to develop themselves as professional human capital through international education, molding themselves into independent, cosmopolitan, career-oriented individuals. On the other, strong neotraditionalist state, social, and familial pressures of the post-Mao era push them back toward marriage and family by age thirty.

Martin examines these women’s motivations for studying in Australia and traces their embodied and emotional experiences of urban life, social media worlds, work in low-skilled and professional jobs, romantic relationships, religion, Chinese patriotism, and changed self-understanding after study abroad. Martin illustrates how emerging forms of gender, class, and mobility fundamentally transform the basis of identity for a whole generation of Chinese women.

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