Transgressive Typologies takes a deep dive into the sources surrounding the history of female rule during the early Tang dynasty. As Rebecca Doran's layered discussion of these records makes clear, even though the Tang dynasty is recognized as one of the more tolerant eras for female autonomy in Chinese history, the writings about the figures at the center of the power struggles during Wu Zhao's 武曌 (better known to history as Wu Zetian 武則天; 624–705) short-lived Zhou dynasty (609–705) say as much as or more about gender anxieties and discursive spin than present historical facts. A great deal of English-language research on Wu Zetian's rise to political power already exists.1 Unlike these other works that focus on the political and ritual mechanics of how Empress Wu legitimated her rule, Doran's interest is in discourse and the gendered mechanics of representing women...

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