Oral Presentation Session - Cosponsored Status Awarded
Sponsored by: Association for Queer Anthropology
Cosponsored by: Society for East Asian Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Identity and Equity
Secondary Theme: Social movements
This session uses “queer Asia” as a heuristic to track the evolving politics, intimacies, and everyday lives of gender- and sexually diverse peoples in East and Southeast Asian societies within a fast-paced global environment. Past scholarship on “queer Asia” has been important for examining sexual subjectivities emerging from the transnational flows of people, images, and ideas across and beyond the Asian region (Blackwood and Johnson 2012). More recently, scholars have also proposed thinking about “queer Asia” as method or critique—drawing on Kuan-Hsing Chen’s “Asia as method”—in order to reconceptualize “Asia” as not static but always changing, critique and displace queer theory’s Euro-American-centric biases, and reconstruct “queer” as key to doing research on Asia (Chiang and Wong 2017; Leung and Yue 2015; Yue 2017). Building on these collaborative efforts, it is vital to ask, particularly for scholars whose works center on ethnography: What is “queer Asia” and why might it be significant to and for anthropology? In what ways is queer Asia productive (or unproductive) for doing ethnographic research? Conversely, what (im)possibilities does ethnography offer for queer Asia? How might we reimagine the relationship(s) between anthropology, queer studies, and Asian studies?
Collectively, all five presentations animate this discussion by exploring queer categories, wedding parties, and citizenship and social movements in Taiwan, Singapore, and the Philippines. Emmanuel David traces the historical construction of the category and identity, “transpinay,” or transgender women of Filipina descent. Jenny Hoang locates the desires of female same-sex relationships within a post-Pride wedding party in Taipei. Analyzing Taiwanese anti-tongzhi movements, or anti-LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+) movements, Ying-Chao Kao proposes a post-colonial perspective of queer theory to counter its Euro-American-centric inclinations. Minwoo Jung focuses on the shifting boundaries of market and rights embedded within LGBT organizing in Singapore. This panel is timely for (re)configuring queer and anthropological theories, developing new conversations on queering Asia, and pushing the boundaries of how we understand social change in queer Asia.
Discussant: Evelyn Blackwood, Purdue University