Skip to main content

Research Spotlight


Yunxiang Gao

Title:

History

Office:

History

Specialization:

History

Biography:

Dr. Yunxiang Gao’s research explores China’s history of using sport to communicate political messages.

In her new book, Sporting Gender: Women Athletes and Celebrity-Making during China’s National Crisis, 1931-45 (University of British Columbia Press, 2013), Dr. Gao examines the rise to fame of female athletes in China during its national crisis of 1931-45, an emergency brought on by the Japanese invasion of the country. By re-mapping the lives and careers of individual female athletes, administrators, and film actors within the wartime context, Dr. Gao shows how these women coped with the conflicting demands of nationalist causes, unwanted male attention, and modern fame. While addressing the themes of state control, media influence, fashion, and changes in gender roles, she argues that the athletic female form helped to create a new ideal of modern womanhood in China at time when women’s emancipation and national needs went hand in hand. This book vividly brings to life the histories of these athletes, and demonstrates how intertwined their experiences were with the aims of the state and the needs of society.

Department:

Dr. Yunxiang Gao’s research explores China’s history of using sport to communicate political messages. Her new book, Sporting Gender: Women Athletes and Celebrity-Making during China’s National Crisis, 1931-45 examines the rise to fame of female athletes in China during its national crisis of 1931-45.