|Abstract: ||1895 年4 月間，十餘名西方各國寓居上海的女士，成立了一個帶有社會運動組織色彩的團體，名為「天足會」，以革除中國婦女纏足習俗為目標。天足會的創始會員，從社會階層來看，稱得上是「名媛貴婦」，她們丈夫的身分包括了總領事、工部局董事、洋行老闆等等，可說全是上海租界裡的權力菁英。本計畫的主旨，便在於分析上海天足會（1895-1906）的活動，藉以理解這樣一群西方貴婦，如何在遠離母國的海外殖民社會中，透過自我組織與資源動員的方式，集體投入「反纏足」這項有關中國風俗的改革運動。研究性別與帝國主義的學者使用了「母性帝國主義者」的概念來指稱英領印度時期，積極參與殖民社會公共事務的英國貴婦。這個概念首先預設了一個「父性帝國主義」，亦即，殖民統治者以深具「父性特質」的管理和控制原則，對殖民地進行家父長式的專制治理。「母性帝國主義」則強調統治階層女性的「母性特質」，她們扮演著對被統治者受到自身傳統風俗的「折磨」而心生「憐憫」的感性角色。儘管印度與中國的殖民處境並不相同，但當上海天足會成員決心涉入中國事務時，她們的資源動員，勢必架構在西方帝國主義在中國經營的各種利益事業，以及她們的丈夫所舖陳出來的權力網絡，而她們自己顯然也相信，解放中國女子是她們責無旁貸的重任，也因此，在天足會的論述裡，「憐憫」始終佔有重要位置。由此觀之，上海天足會的反纏足運動，演示了一個「母性帝國主義」的運作案例，而這正是本研究計畫所要檢驗的主要課題。|
In April, 1895, more than ten Western women of different nationalities including the wives of various consuls and merchants, founded a society called “Natural Feet Society” in Shanghai (1895-1906), condemning footbinding as a cruel and injurious practice and calling for funds and friends to aid in creating a public sentiment against the practice and assist in the movement personally. This research project aims to analyze how and why the society was organized and under what conditions these women from far away got themselves involved into such a difficult mission as eliminating the millennium-long practice of footbinding from China. Missionaries and travelers apart, activities of Western women were generally confined to the foreign communities, where there were numerous charitable, religious, sporting or theatrical organizations, clubs, or associations, which all functioned together in a mutual support structure. In many respects, the image of these Western women in China was not far from that of so-called “memsahibs” in British India as “a frivolous, snobbish and selfish creature who flitted from bridge to tennis parties.” Nevertheless, “memsahibs” were not indifferent to public affairs, especially those concerning their status of superiority in the colonies, notably exemplified by their political mobilization in 1883-4, holding public meetings and drawing up petitions in opposition to the Ilbert Bill that would have allowed Indian judges to try cases involving Europeans. Still some “memsahibs,” similar to female missionaries, took up “the White Women’s Burden” as social reformers for Indian women’s uplift by promoting female education, raising the minimum age of marriage for women, and improving the situation of Indian widows. Scholars on gender and imperialism term these memsahib activists “maternal imperialists” positing that British political imperialism in India became paternalistic autocracy. These maternal imperialists, like their male counterparts, believed that it was their “moral responsibility” to carry out social progress toward civilization in the indigenous society. In other words, they deliberately cultivated the civilizing responsibility as their own modern, womanly, and largely secular burden because it affirmed an emancipated role for them in their empire. Playing a similar role of “maternal imperialists” and taking up the civilizing responsibility or the “White Women’s Burden,” some “memsahibs in China” developed a career as social reformers at the turn of the twentieth century in the anti-footbinding movement that will be explored in this research project.