Degree Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


East Asian Studies


David Edward Kelley


Vegetarianism, China, Rhetorical idioms


This thesis examines changes between historical and contemporary iterations of Chinese vegetarianism discourse. Vegetarian discourse can be divided into two categories: entitlement (which focuses primarily on animals’ entitlement to life) and endangerment (which focuses on meat as a contaminating agent). This project attempts to determine how Chinese vegetarianism fits into this framework. It uses interviews with Chinese international students at Oberlin College, analysis of Chinese vegetarian blogs, and academic work by Chinese and non-Chinese academics to better understand the state of vegetarianism today as compared to the past. This study found that, while Chinese vegetarianism has historically been grounded in Buddhism, which primarily employs entitlement-based arguments, endangerment-focused vegetarianism has emerged in contemporary China. This research helps provide an understanding of Chinese vegetarianism within a social context, which helps both Chinese and non-Chinese people better navigate the Chinese vegetarian landscape.