Hongwei BaoOct 26, 2022
Lesbian and Gay Literature and Visual Culture Under Postsocialism
In Queer China: Lesbian and Gay Literature and Visual Culture Under Postsocialism (Routledge, 2020), associate professor of media and cultural studies at the University of Nottingham Hongwei Bao returns with a theory-driven, methodologically-diverse, empathetic, and insightful analysis of LGBTQ literature and visual culture in postsocialist China. A thorough introduction positions Bao as a participant observer and explores key concepts including “postsocialist metamorphosis,” defined as “the transformation of subjectivity, desire and sense of belonging in the postsocialist era” (4). After exploring the history of homosexuality’s (re-)emergence in China’s reform era by tracing public, intellectual discourse, Bao counters the misperception that Chinese gay and lesbian identities are the result of the influence of global (Western) gay culture. Instead, he identifies a variety of gender and sexual subjectivities unique to China’s postsocialist conditions and historical context. Each chapter then explores rich case studies from queer China, touching upon a wide variety of cultural production types. From poetry to papercutting art, from comrade (tongzhi)/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, Queer China provides unique analysis and insights and also acts as an archive of queer cultural production in postsocialist China.
Laurie Dickmeyer is an Assistant Professor of History at Angelo State University, where she teaches courses in Asian and US history. Her research concerns nineteenth century US-China relations. She can be reached at email@example.com.