Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You and Your Team.

Learn More →

Gay and Lesbian Subculture in Urban China (review)

Gay and Lesbian Subculture in Urban China (review) Reviews 187 ofarthistoricaldescriptionofmaterialculturalartifactsoranyonewishingto imparttheimportanceofvisualand,toalesserextent,materialanalysis. Specialistsmayhavesomeresidualconcernsaboutafewoverstatements.For instance,whilethebookdrawsupontextualsourcesofMingandQingfiction, includingnovels,dramas,shortstories,anddiaries,closereadersmayneedmore thananunsystematicgroupingofwordslooselyrelatedtomeaningsofpleasurein ordertoresuscitatethecentralityofpleasureastheprimarymodeofexperiencing decoration(pp.88­89).Othersmaytakeissuewithvaguestatementsaboutsocial arthistory,suchasthesupposedelevatedstatusofdecorationanditsequalstandingvis-à-vispaintingduringthistimeperiod(pp.83­84).Thisreaderfoundthat thebook'soverarchingintentiontorematerializesurface,whilesorelyneededin studiesoflateimperialChinesematerialculture,remainsfocusedonvisualperceptionandopticalanalysis.Perhapssomeattentiontoinnovationsinmaterial technologies,suchasenamelingtechniquesduringtheQing,andtheirextant textualandartefactualsources,wouldfurtherelucidatethesedecorativeschemes asmaterialsurfaces.Forthemostpart,however,thisreviewerisgratefultoHayfor turninghisanalyticaleyetowardtheseunderstudiedobjects,therebylegitimizing theaestheticsofdecoration--howeverelusivematerialaspectsmaybe--asa seriousinquiryofarthistory. EllenHuang Ellen Huang is the Kiriyama Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the Center for the Pacific Rim at the University of San Francisco. She is revising her book monograph about the production of materials through the lens of Jingdezhen porcelain during the Qing dynasty. LorettaWingWahHo.Gay and Lesbian Subculture in Urban China. New York:Routledge,2009.xii,180pp.Tables,figures.Hardcover$125.00,isbn 978-0-415-55022-2. TherapiddevelopmentoftongzhicommunitiesinChinahascaughtmuchacademicattentionintherecentdecade.Agrowingbodyofresearchpublishedin EnglishandChineselooksintodifferentgroupsofsexualminoritiesinpostreformChina.ThebookbyLorettaWingWahHoisoneofthelatestpublications thatofferananthropologicalglimpseintothesame-sexcommunitiesinBeijing duringtheopeningupofChina.Itcentersthediscussiononthearticulationof emerginggayidentitiesinChinathroughindividualplayers'sexualstorytelling © 2012 by University of Hawai`i Press 188 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.2,2011 andhowthesenewsexualidentitiesinteractwithachangingnotionofChinesenessduringChina'sopeningup.Hoforegroundstheinfluencesoflocalgay a ctivism,globalizedgayculture,same-sexmovementsinthediasporicChinese communities,andtherecentlyemergedChinesecyberspacetothearticulationand negotiationofsame-sexidentity.Shearguesthattheseeminglymodernand liberatedgayandlesbianidentitiesinurbanChinaare,infact,paradoxical,fragmented,andself-censored.Theyaresusceptibletostateideologies,builtupona fragmented(ifnotrosy)understandingofWesternLGBTQmovements,and closelyassociatedwithanewlyemergingnationalChineseidentity.Theycarefully differentiatethemselvesfromtheWesternnotionsofgayidentitiesandtheancient Chinesetraditionofhomosexuality.Thearticulationofgayidentities,asarguedby Ho,isalsohighlysensitivetoclassnarratives,inparticularthehegemonicdiscourseofsuzhi(quality)inChinesesociety. Thebookisbasedontheauthor'sfieldworkinBeijingduringhertermasa visitingscholaroftheChineseAcademyofSocialSciencesin2004andpostfieldworkemailandtelephonecontacts.Hodiscussesingreatdetailshermultiple identitiesandpositioningsinthefield.ShewasaresearcherfromAustralia,a citizenofHongKong,anoverseasChinese,andanon-gayfemale.Asanoutsider atmanylevels--cultural,linguistic,sexual,andgeographical--Hoprovidesarich andhonestdescriptionofthetensionandchallengessheencounteredinlocal lesbianandgaycommunities.ItisinterestingtoputHo'sfrustratedinteractionsin thefieldalongsideherdiscussionofhowlocallesbiansandgaymenstruggleto produceculturallyauthenticidentitiesthatcanbedistinguishedfromtheglobalizedWesternones.TheresistanceHoreceivedinthefieldmightbetheveryeffect ofthislocalresistanceagainstany(imagined)culturalhegemonyfromtheoutside. Theextensivediscussionoftheresearcher'spositioningsinthefield,aswellasthe manyfieldnotes,isoneofthemostoriginaldocumentationofhowlocallesbian andgaycommunitiesinanopening-upChinareacttothe(imagined)opportunitiesandoppressionofforeigninfluences.Italsorevealsvividlyoftheuneasy dialoguebetweencontemporaryChinaandotherformsofChinesenessinthe world. Thebookofferssomeinsightfulobservationsoftheinternalstratificationof thelesbianandgaycommunitiesinBeijing.TheChineseconceptofsuzhihasbeen widelydiscussedinacademicworksofmodernity,gaycommunities,andformsof governmentalityinpost-reformChina.Hooffersoriginalobservationsofthe urban/ruraldividewithinthelocallesbianandgaycommunities.Thedivideis morepronouncedinthegaycommunitiesinChina.GiventheweightyrepresentationofgaymeninHo'sresearch,itisnotsurprisingthatshehasforegroundeditas adominantfeatureinthelocalsame-sexcommunities.AccordingtoHo'sobservations,theChinesesame-sexcommunities(inBeijing)arehighlystratifiedbythe classandlocationalityoftheirmembers.Suzhiisanorganizingprincipleofthe Reviews 189 internalhierarchy.Itreferstoanidealnotionoftongzhiimageandrepresentation thatalwaysreinforcesclasshegemony(andurbandominanceaswell).Suzhiis mostpronouncedasadiscourseofexclusionwhenitisimposedonmoneyboys in thegaycommunity.Hooffersabriefbuttruthfulrepresentationofthismost discriminatedagainstgroupinthealreadymarginalizedgaycommunities.1Forthe largertongzhicommunity,thediscourseofsuzhimightnotbeasall-encompassing asaconcepttoaccountforthediverseformsofinternalexclusions.Themoralistic sexualhierarchyinthelesbiancommunities,thestigmatizationoftransgender people,theprejudiceagainstbisexuality,thedistrustoflesbianwomeninheterosexualmarriage,andsoonareallimportantformsofinternalstratificationwithin tongzhicommunitiesthatcallforananalysisbeyondthegay-dominatedrhetoric ofsuzhi. Ho'sbookcanbereadasanaccountoftheselectedgaycommunitiesin Beijing.Theauthorisawareofthelimitationofrepresentationandthepossible misinterpretation(linguisticallyorculturally)resultingfromhernumerousoutsiderpositions.Indeed,thebookisheavilycoloredbytheresearcher'slimited(or privileged)exposuretothegayactivistcommunityinBeijing.Foreignfunding (togetherwithitsembeddedideologies)andpublichealthdiscoursesaretwo majorshapingforcesofgayactivisminChina.Lesbiancommunitiesand,toa lesserextent,theemergingtransgendercommunitiesareusuallyexcludedfrom health-relatedforeignfundingand,hence,havedifferenttrajectoriesofcommunitybuilding.Itistheoreticallyrelevanttosituatethediscussionofemerging same-sexidentitiesinChinainthedebatesofglobalization,globalgayness, modernity,andthenegotiationofdifferentformsofChineseness.However,amore politicallyproductiveanalysismightincludearicherdescriptionofthediverse politicalmeaningsoftheeverydayarticulationoflocalsexualidentitiesbyindividualactors.Homentionsinmanypartsofthebookthepopularlocalgenderand sexualidentities,suchasT,P,andbufen,andbrieflytracesthegeographicaland culturalgenealogyofthoseChineseterms.Whatwouldbeexpectedtobeincluded intheanalysisisadiscussionofthepoliticalmeaningoftheeverydayusageof thoseinformalterms(ascomparedtothemoreformalonessuchas"tongzhi, lesbian"),especiallyhowidentitiesandsubjectivitiesareformedandinformedby thosetermsinactualsame-sexrelationshipsandgroupinteractions.Moreimportantwouldbeknowinghowthoseidentitiesempowerindividualsineveryday context,eveniftheyarefragmentedandparadoxicalintheirculturalandpolitical configuration. ThebookoffersaglimpseofthegaycommunitiesinBeijingduringChina's openingup.Theauthorishighlyreflectiveofhernumerousdifferencesfromher researchinformantsandhonestaboutsharingthemanyuneasymomentscaused byculturaldifferencesbetweenherandtheinformants.Herself-reflectionand examinationofherpositionsinthefieldandthevividaccountsofhowshe 190 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.2,2011 v enturedintothegaycommunityinBeijingasanoutsiderare,indeed,indispensiblefromheranalysis. LucettaY.L.Kam Lucetta Y. L. Kam is an assistant professor in the Humanities Program at Hong Kong Baptist University, specializing in Chinese gender and sexuality studies. Note 1. ThelatestanthologyonmoneyboysinChinaisTravisS.K.Kong'sChinese Male Homosexualities: Memba, Tongzhi, and Golden Boy(London:Routledge,2010),whichprovidesa http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

Gay and Lesbian Subculture in Urban China (review)

China Review International , Volume 18 (2) – Sep 19, 2011

Loading next page...
 
/lp/university-of-hawai-i-press/gay-and-lesbian-subculture-in-urban-china-review-J8gjvgQhiH
Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9367
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Reviews 187 ofarthistoricaldescriptionofmaterialculturalartifactsoranyonewishingto imparttheimportanceofvisualand,toalesserextent,materialanalysis. Specialistsmayhavesomeresidualconcernsaboutafewoverstatements.For instance,whilethebookdrawsupontextualsourcesofMingandQingfiction, includingnovels,dramas,shortstories,anddiaries,closereadersmayneedmore thananunsystematicgroupingofwordslooselyrelatedtomeaningsofpleasurein ordertoresuscitatethecentralityofpleasureastheprimarymodeofexperiencing decoration(pp.88­89).Othersmaytakeissuewithvaguestatementsaboutsocial arthistory,suchasthesupposedelevatedstatusofdecorationanditsequalstandingvis-à-vispaintingduringthistimeperiod(pp.83­84).Thisreaderfoundthat thebook'soverarchingintentiontorematerializesurface,whilesorelyneededin studiesoflateimperialChinesematerialculture,remainsfocusedonvisualperceptionandopticalanalysis.Perhapssomeattentiontoinnovationsinmaterial technologies,suchasenamelingtechniquesduringtheQing,andtheirextant textualandartefactualsources,wouldfurtherelucidatethesedecorativeschemes asmaterialsurfaces.Forthemostpart,however,thisreviewerisgratefultoHayfor turninghisanalyticaleyetowardtheseunderstudiedobjects,therebylegitimizing theaestheticsofdecoration--howeverelusivematerialaspectsmaybe--asa seriousinquiryofarthistory. EllenHuang Ellen Huang is the Kiriyama Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the Center for the Pacific Rim at the University of San Francisco. She is revising her book monograph about the production of materials through the lens of Jingdezhen porcelain during the Qing dynasty. LorettaWingWahHo.Gay and Lesbian Subculture in Urban China. New York:Routledge,2009.xii,180pp.Tables,figures.Hardcover$125.00,isbn 978-0-415-55022-2. TherapiddevelopmentoftongzhicommunitiesinChinahascaughtmuchacademicattentionintherecentdecade.Agrowingbodyofresearchpublishedin EnglishandChineselooksintodifferentgroupsofsexualminoritiesinpostreformChina.ThebookbyLorettaWingWahHoisoneofthelatestpublications thatofferananthropologicalglimpseintothesame-sexcommunitiesinBeijing duringtheopeningupofChina.Itcentersthediscussiononthearticulationof emerginggayidentitiesinChinathroughindividualplayers'sexualstorytelling © 2012 by University of Hawai`i Press 188 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.2,2011 andhowthesenewsexualidentitiesinteractwithachangingnotionofChinesenessduringChina'sopeningup.Hoforegroundstheinfluencesoflocalgay a ctivism,globalizedgayculture,same-sexmovementsinthediasporicChinese communities,andtherecentlyemergedChinesecyberspacetothearticulationand negotiationofsame-sexidentity.Shearguesthattheseeminglymodernand liberatedgayandlesbianidentitiesinurbanChinaare,infact,paradoxical,fragmented,andself-censored.Theyaresusceptibletostateideologies,builtupona fragmented(ifnotrosy)understandingofWesternLGBTQmovements,and closelyassociatedwithanewlyemergingnationalChineseidentity.Theycarefully differentiatethemselvesfromtheWesternnotionsofgayidentitiesandtheancient Chinesetraditionofhomosexuality.Thearticulationofgayidentities,asarguedby Ho,isalsohighlysensitivetoclassnarratives,inparticularthehegemonicdiscourseofsuzhi(quality)inChinesesociety. Thebookisbasedontheauthor'sfieldworkinBeijingduringhertermasa visitingscholaroftheChineseAcademyofSocialSciencesin2004andpostfieldworkemailandtelephonecontacts.Hodiscussesingreatdetailshermultiple identitiesandpositioningsinthefield.ShewasaresearcherfromAustralia,a citizenofHongKong,anoverseasChinese,andanon-gayfemale.Asanoutsider atmanylevels--cultural,linguistic,sexual,andgeographical--Hoprovidesarich andhonestdescriptionofthetensionandchallengessheencounteredinlocal lesbianandgaycommunities.ItisinterestingtoputHo'sfrustratedinteractionsin thefieldalongsideherdiscussionofhowlocallesbiansandgaymenstruggleto produceculturallyauthenticidentitiesthatcanbedistinguishedfromtheglobalizedWesternones.TheresistanceHoreceivedinthefieldmightbetheveryeffect ofthislocalresistanceagainstany(imagined)culturalhegemonyfromtheoutside. Theextensivediscussionoftheresearcher'spositioningsinthefield,aswellasthe manyfieldnotes,isoneofthemostoriginaldocumentationofhowlocallesbian andgaycommunitiesinanopening-upChinareacttothe(imagined)opportunitiesandoppressionofforeigninfluences.Italsorevealsvividlyoftheuneasy dialoguebetweencontemporaryChinaandotherformsofChinesenessinthe world. Thebookofferssomeinsightfulobservationsoftheinternalstratificationof thelesbianandgaycommunitiesinBeijing.TheChineseconceptofsuzhihasbeen widelydiscussedinacademicworksofmodernity,gaycommunities,andformsof governmentalityinpost-reformChina.Hooffersoriginalobservationsofthe urban/ruraldividewithinthelocallesbianandgaycommunities.Thedivideis morepronouncedinthegaycommunitiesinChina.GiventheweightyrepresentationofgaymeninHo'sresearch,itisnotsurprisingthatshehasforegroundeditas adominantfeatureinthelocalsame-sexcommunities.AccordingtoHo'sobservations,theChinesesame-sexcommunities(inBeijing)arehighlystratifiedbythe classandlocationalityoftheirmembers.Suzhiisanorganizingprincipleofthe Reviews 189 internalhierarchy.Itreferstoanidealnotionoftongzhiimageandrepresentation thatalwaysreinforcesclasshegemony(andurbandominanceaswell).Suzhiis mostpronouncedasadiscourseofexclusionwhenitisimposedonmoneyboys in thegaycommunity.Hooffersabriefbuttruthfulrepresentationofthismost discriminatedagainstgroupinthealreadymarginalizedgaycommunities.1Forthe largertongzhicommunity,thediscourseofsuzhimightnotbeasall-encompassing asaconcepttoaccountforthediverseformsofinternalexclusions.Themoralistic sexualhierarchyinthelesbiancommunities,thestigmatizationoftransgender people,theprejudiceagainstbisexuality,thedistrustoflesbianwomeninheterosexualmarriage,andsoonareallimportantformsofinternalstratificationwithin tongzhicommunitiesthatcallforananalysisbeyondthegay-dominatedrhetoric ofsuzhi. Ho'sbookcanbereadasanaccountoftheselectedgaycommunitiesin Beijing.Theauthorisawareofthelimitationofrepresentationandthepossible misinterpretation(linguisticallyorculturally)resultingfromhernumerousoutsiderpositions.Indeed,thebookisheavilycoloredbytheresearcher'slimited(or privileged)exposuretothegayactivistcommunityinBeijing.Foreignfunding (togetherwithitsembeddedideologies)andpublichealthdiscoursesaretwo majorshapingforcesofgayactivisminChina.Lesbiancommunitiesand,toa lesserextent,theemergingtransgendercommunitiesareusuallyexcludedfrom health-relatedforeignfundingand,hence,havedifferenttrajectoriesofcommunitybuilding.Itistheoreticallyrelevanttosituatethediscussionofemerging same-sexidentitiesinChinainthedebatesofglobalization,globalgayness, modernity,andthenegotiationofdifferentformsofChineseness.However,amore politicallyproductiveanalysismightincludearicherdescriptionofthediverse politicalmeaningsoftheeverydayarticulationoflocalsexualidentitiesbyindividualactors.Homentionsinmanypartsofthebookthepopularlocalgenderand sexualidentities,suchasT,P,andbufen,andbrieflytracesthegeographicaland culturalgenealogyofthoseChineseterms.Whatwouldbeexpectedtobeincluded intheanalysisisadiscussionofthepoliticalmeaningoftheeverydayusageof thoseinformalterms(ascomparedtothemoreformalonessuchas"tongzhi, lesbian"),especiallyhowidentitiesandsubjectivitiesareformedandinformedby thosetermsinactualsame-sexrelationshipsandgroupinteractions.Moreimportantwouldbeknowinghowthoseidentitiesempowerindividualsineveryday context,eveniftheyarefragmentedandparadoxicalintheirculturalandpolitical configuration. ThebookoffersaglimpseofthegaycommunitiesinBeijingduringChina's openingup.Theauthorishighlyreflectiveofhernumerousdifferencesfromher researchinformantsandhonestaboutsharingthemanyuneasymomentscaused byculturaldifferencesbetweenherandtheinformants.Herself-reflectionand examinationofherpositionsinthefieldandthevividaccountsofhowshe 190 ChinaReviewInternational:Vol.18,No.2,2011 v enturedintothegaycommunityinBeijingasanoutsiderare,indeed,indispensiblefromheranalysis. LucettaY.L.Kam Lucetta Y. L. Kam is an assistant professor in the Humanities Program at Hong Kong Baptist University, specializing in Chinese gender and sexuality studies. Note 1. ThelatestanthologyonmoneyboysinChinaisTravisS.K.Kong'sChinese Male Homosexualities: Memba, Tongzhi, and Golden Boy(London:Routledge,2010),whichprovidesa

Journal

China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Sep 19, 2011

There are no references for this article.