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Peiqin Zhou

March 1

Topic: The Invisible Curfew: Women’s Fear & their Use of Public Space during China’s Urbanization
Location: Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center

Time: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

The Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship at Drake University events are all free and open to the public.

Sponsor: The Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship

Fear of crime and taking measures to avoid victimization has been a common daily experience of modern life, and we often take it for granted. Due to “the shadow of sexual assault”, women usually show higher level of fear of crime, and so it has more negative impacts on their life. Through in-depth interviews, this study examines how the women’s fear affect young women’s use of public spaces in a low-density suburban community. It is found that women’s fear is prevalent in this new type of urban space, and it clearly exhibits temporal and spatial dimensions. The crucial factor triggering women’s fear is the lack of informal social control, which is partly due to the architecture design embodied modern functionalism and partly due to the homogeneity of social life in the community. The study reports that women have employed various means to deal with their fear, which in general constrains their autonomic life. In the end, the study argues that women’s spatial experience will be improved if more informal social control is put into effect, but a more profound sociological imagination is called on to better understand this issue.

Peiqin Zhou is an associate professor and deputy chair in the Department of Sociology in the School of Social and Behavioral Study at Nanjing University in the People’s Republic of China. At present, she is serving as a visiting Global Practitioner-in-Residence in the Department for the Study of Culture and Society at Drake University. She received her doctorate in mass communication from The University of Alabama and his master’s degree in journalism and bachelor’s degree in Chinese linguistics and literature from Nanjing University. Her research specialties are mass media and society. She has published in the Journal of Advertising, Journal of Communication, China Media Research and Film Art. She has also published several book chapters on social effects of media and presented many research papers at international conferences. Currently, she works on two projects. One examines changes in the behavior of cinema-going since 1949, and the other studies urban women’s use of public space in China.