Category Archives: scholars

“When Delia Davin, the pioneer of Chinese women’s studies,…



“When Delia Davin, the pioneer of Chinese women’s studies, arrived in Beijing in 1963, aged 19, there were still camels carrying coal and wooden ploughs in the fields outside the city. Davin, who has died of cancer aged 72, quickly established a rapport with her students at the Beijing Broadcasting Institute, whom she found to be ‘very serious about their work, but [to] have a gaiety which saves them from being priggish’. She taught them Irish songs as well as English grammar, and one of them recited ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’ to console her, the student said, for not being in England on Shakespeare’s birthday.”

For more on Davin’s work as a pioneering scholar in the intersecting fields of Women’s Studies and East Asian Studies, see her obituary, composed by John Gittings and quoted above, in The Guardian (16 October 2016) as well as an appreciation posted by scholar Gail Hershatter at H-Net (16 October 2016).