Reflections on Chinese Sexuality: A Conversation with Weiyi Hu


How is sexuality experienced in contemporary China? What are the connections and tensions between China and the West in producing knowledges of sexuality? Dr Weiyi Hu notes that most of the seminal writings on sexuality are produced in the West, and that the definition of sexuality is largely theorised by Western scholars.

In a conversation with Joanne Kuai, PhD candidate at Karlstad University, Sweden and an affiliated PhD student at NIAS, Dr. Weiyi Hu sketches an alternative approach that questions the unreflective reliance on Western understanding of sexuality, and to cut through a cluster of dualisms, such as East and West, in theorising Chinese sexuality.

She combines Xiaomei Chen’s concept of the Chinese Occidentalism discourse and Bourdieu’s notion of symbolic capital to elucidate the connections and tensions between China and the West. Drawing on fieldwork, she argues that within contemporary Chinese culture the meaning of sexuality experienced in everyday life is charged with tensions between orthodoxy and heterodoxy.

Weiyi Hu is a sessional facilitator at the University of Sydney, where she recently completed her doctorate in the social sciences. She is interested in the sociology of everyday life, sexuality, feminism, and familial relations in contemporary China. Born in Shanghai, she is fascinated by the complex ways that the Occident (West) is perceived, imagined, narrated, and experienced by Chinese peoples.

The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku and Asianettverket at the University of Oslo.

We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.

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Joanne Kuai

Joanne Kuai is a PhD Candidate at Karlstad University, Sweden, with a research project on Artificial Intelligence in Chinese Newsrooms. Her research interests centre around data and AI for media, computational journalism, and the social implications of automation and algorithms. Find her on LinkedIn or on Twitter @JoanneKuai.

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