Global China: Love, Marriage, and Family under a One-Child Policy with Dr. Yi Dayton - Context Travel

Global China: Love, Marriage, and Family under a One-Child Policy with Dr. Yi Dayton


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Although China ended its one-child policy in 2015, the consequences of this policy are still being felt. This seminar explores how the one-Child policy has transformed China’s gender relations, impacted both domestic and transnational marriages, and resulted in the rise (and fall) of international adoption.

We will first investigate a controversial consequence: while the one-child policy intensified the idea of “boy preference” and caused an increase in the number of female infanticides, daughters in urban families have become the “only hope” of their parents and thus gained unprecedented resources and power.

We will then move on to discussing how these controversial circumstances relate to marriage. We will explore how female infanticide has resulted in an unequal sex ratio and created a large population of “rural bachelors” who now seek wives from Vietnam, Myanmar, and other developing countries. We will also discuss the motivations for urban women, in contrast, to refuse to get married and bear children. These women, who used to be the family’s “only hope”, are now called “leftover women” by the government and viewed as the main contributor to China’s population crisis (China has become an aging society with a low birth rate).

In the last section of our seminar, we will track all the consequences of the one-Child policy – a skewed sex ratio, marital problem in the rural area, a national crisis of population growth, and the emerging power of urban women – to trace the dynamics of international adoption. We will answer the question of why China’s foreign adoption programs have sharply decreased and why US parents have adopted more male infants than female infants from China since 2016.

Led by an expert on gender and family in China, Dr. Yi Dayton, this interactive seminar will explore how China’s population control policy transforms marital and familial relations in both domestic and international domains. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a greater understanding of the cultural and gendered lives of the current generation in China.

Dr. Yi Dayton earned her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from University of California Davis. Her research focuses on how digital technologies transform gender and familial relations in China. Dr. Dayton has taught numerous undergraduate courses at UC Davis. Currently, she is an instructor in Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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