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Grant number like: FA-50071-04

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Anne B. Kinney
University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA 22903-4833)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2005 – 4/30/2006

The Traditions of Exemplary Women (Lienu zhuan): A New Translation

The Traditions of Exemplary Women (c. 18 B.C.) consists of biographical accounts of female role models in early China and is the earliest extant book in the Chinese tradition solely devoted to the moral education of women. After its compilation, the Tradition became the standard textbook for women's education for the next two millennia, inspiring generations of Chinese to cultivate not only traditional virtues such as filial piety and maternal kindness but lauding practices such as suicide and self-mutilation as a means to preserve chastity. The goal of this fellowship is to complete an English-language translation of the Traditions, currently available only through an out-of-print edition that is full of errors and lacking in substantial annotation. The translation will result in a book manuscript and additionally, will be incorporated into a larger project, The Traditions of Exemplary Women: A Digital Research Collection. The research collection is a bilingual-multimedia resource for scholarly inquiry into the complex relationship between representations of women in early China and the cultural forces that shaped them. To move the project forward, the most crucial activity at this stage is to complete the translation (chapters 3-8), which will then become the cornerstone of the larger project. As a resource for discovering and establishing new relationships between text, geography, genealogies, images, people, philosophical movements, events and themes, the digital research collection will not only help extend the boundaries of humanistic research in this field but will also suggest new ways for sinologists to translate and annotate texts, formulate questions, and engage in research. By making all of its resources bilingual, the project, and especially, the translation, also promises to open up the culture of early China to scholars who know no Chinese.