The Western Perception of Empress Dowager Cixi




Chen, Dennis

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Empress Dowager Cixi is one of the most widely recognized leaders of late Qing China, and she has been the major subject of numerous non-fiction and academic publications in Europe and North America. This, however, does not mean that Western knowledge on Cixi is strong. Although certain books, particularly those written by Cixi’s closest associates, do provide valuable information describing who she was, most of these books, along with many others, also contain fabricated claims about her as well. As a result, falsities have become heavily intertwined with factual records of Cixi in Western publications. This thesis attempts to re-examine these Western works in order to reach a correct understanding of Cixi’s life. In particular, this study demonstrates how a few major ideological trends, such as imperialism, Orientalism, sexism, and feminism, have influenced Western publications on Cixi and brought either bias or insights into the literature on her.



ideology, imperialism, de-colonialism, Orientalism, sexism, feminism