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University of Central Florida

East Asian Languages and Societies

2017

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The Rhetoric Of Transgression: Reconstructing Female Authority Through Wu Zetian's Legacy, Rachael Rothstein-Safra Jan 2017

The Rhetoric Of Transgression: Reconstructing Female Authority Through Wu Zetian's Legacy, Rachael Rothstein-Safra

Honors Undergraduate Theses

This study examines representations of Wu Zetian in the biographical tradition of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries, as well as within the subsequent vernacular literature of the Ming and Qing periods. I analyze the traditional use and construction of female stereotypes (and female-oriented flaws and vices) in the rhetoric of official histories and fictional narratives and their application to representations of Wu Zetian. I argue that authors, anxious of discord engendered and caused by women occupying positions of political authority, sought to delegitimize Wu Zetian’s reign and subsequently cultivated a “rhetoric of female transgression.” I further argue that ...