This book analyses queer cultural production in contemporary China to map the broad social transformations in gender, sexuality and desire. It examines queer literature and visual cultures in China’s post-Mao and postsocialist era to show how these diverse cultural forms and practices not only function as context-specific and culturally sensitive forms of social activism but also produce distinct types of gender and sexual subjectivities unique to China’s postsocialist conditions.
From poetry to papercutting art, from ‘comrade/gay literature’ to girls’ love fan fiction, from lesbian films to activist documentaries, and from a drag show in Shanghai to a public performance of a same-sex wedding in Beijing, the book reveals a queer China in all its ideological complexity and creative energy. Empirically rich and methodologically eclectic, Queer China skilfully weaves together historical and archival research, textual and discourse analysis, along with interviews and ethnography.
Breaking new ground and bringing a non-Western perspective to the fore, this transdisciplinary work contributes to multiple academic fields including literary and cultural studies, media and communication studies, film and screen studies, contemporary art, theatre and performance studies, gender and sexuality studies, China/Asia and Global South studies, cultural history and cultural geography, political theory and the study of social movements.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Queer China, Postsocialist Metamorphosis
Part I. Queer Emergence
1. Imagining Modernity: The (Re-)Emergence of Homosexuality
2. Women Fifty Minutes: In Search of Queer Women’s Spaces
Part II. Queer Becoming
3. Beijing Story: Becoming Gay in Postsocialist China
4. Pink Affairs: Narrating Desire in A Girls Love Fan Fiction
Part III. Queer Urban Space
5. ‘New Beijing, New Marriage’: Performing Same-Sex Wedding in Central Beijing
6. The Forgotten Critical Realism: Reification of Desire in Mu Cao’s Poetry
Part IV. Queer Migration
7. ‘Shanghai is Burning’: Becoming Trans in a Global City
8. Life of a Butterfly: Subjectivation and Autonomy in Xiyadie’s Papercutting Art
Hongwei Bao is an associate professor of media and cultural studies at the University of Nottingham, UK. He is the author of Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China.