- Purchase/rental options available:
This essay takes Asian-American writer Sui Sin Far (Edith Eaton) as a case study of how non-white, non-middle-class women reacted to the exclusiveness of the suffragist campaign. Against a backdrop of nativist, racist suffragism, it rereads Sui Sin Far’s fiction and essays not as “anti-progressive” and “anti-suffragist”, as recent scholars have claimed, but as a reaction to the exclusiveness of white suffragists who routinely invoked the trope of the bound feet of Chinese women as a figure for their own oppression while ignoring Chinese-Americans’ claims to the franchise. This essay documents the ways in which Sui Sin Far’s works were inspired by transnational as well as American models of modernization, particularly the Chinese reform movement which led to the temporary enfranchisement of women in Guandong Province eight years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment in the US. Learning from both Chinese reformer journalists who advocated “a revolution in ink” and nativist suffragists’ own critical quotational strategies, Sui Sin Far’s fiction fashions a resistant minority female voice through aggressive literary/ stenographic transcription.