Talks & Conferences

Invited Talks

“Queering Chinese Kinship: Queer Public Culture in Globalizing China”.

16:30-17:45 (GMT+8), 7 Feb 2022. Online. Hosted by Hong Kong Baptist University.

This talk discusses Lin Song’s new book Queering Chinese Kinship:
Queer Public Culture in Globalizing China(Hong Kong University Press 2021). The book demonstrates that the interactions between queerness and Chinese kinship not only animate transnationally influenced yet locally rooted queer cultures, but also critically shape contemporary Chinese cinematic, popular, and public culture more broadly. Contending that kinship relations must be understood as central to, rather than separate from, any articulation of queer selfhood and culture in China, the book challenges Euro-American centric queer culture’s frequent assumption of the separation of queerness from the blood family, and argues for an alternative approach of “queering Chinese kinship” to underline the vitality and complexity of queerness within Chinese kinship institutions.

“Desire for Sale: Chinese Gay Micro-celebrities Negotiating Pleasure through DIY Porn Production”.

09:00-10:30 (GMT+8), 22 Jan 2022. Online. Hosted by University of Toronto.

This talk discusses a nascent network of commercial DIY gay porn production by microcelebrities in China against the background of platformization. Informed by queer Marxist theories, the paper looks at how the career trajectories of live-streamer-turned DIY gay porn actors/producers are shaped by the intertwining forces of platform capitalism, technological affordances, and state internet governance. Reflecting on the critical potential of these DIY porn production practices, it suggests that they paradoxically showcase both a willing submission to the ever-expanding logics of capitalism and means of creative negotiation with commodification and state censorship.

“Queering Chinese Kinship: Queer Public Culture in Globalizing China”.

12:30-14:00 (GMT+8), 19 Jan 2022. Online. Hosted by The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

This talk discusses Lin Song’s new book Queering Chinese Kinship:
Queer Public Culture in Globalizing China(Hong Kong University Press 2021). The book demonstrates that the interactions between queerness and Chinese kinship not only animate transnationally influenced yet locally rooted queer cultures, but also critically shape contemporary Chinese cinematic, popular, and public culture more broadly. Contending that kinship relations must be understood as central to, rather than separate from, any articulation of queer selfhood and culture in China, the book challenges Euro-American centric queer culture’s frequent assumption of the separation of queerness from the blood family, and argues for an alternative approach of “queering Chinese kinship” to underline the vitality and complexity of queerness within Chinese kinship institutions.

“Desire for Sale: Live-streaming and DIY Pornography among Chinese Gay Micro-celebrities”.

12:30-14:00 (GMT+8), 26 Feb 2020. Online. Hosted by The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The popularization of Chinese livestreaming platforms has produced a plethora of Internet “micro-celebrities” who navigate complex cultural, social, and economic dynamics in neoliberal China. This paper sheds light on the less discussed group of gay livestreamers who, after gaining fame, produced DIY gay pornographic videos that were sold through international and domestic social media outlets such as Twitter, Weibo, and Wechat. Adopting a queer Marxist framework of analysis (Floyd 2009, Liu 2015), the paper situates these livestreamers’/porn actors’ practices at the intersection of transnational digital economy, local conditions of (circumventing) censorship, and gay subculture.


Recent Conference Presentations

“No Politics on My Island”: Animal Crossing and Politics of Digital Self-expression in China

Presenter

“Digital Expressions of the Self” symposium, 8-9 September 2021. Silchar, India (online).

This paper discusses China’s ban of the hit Japanese video game Animal Crossing: New Horizon. Situating the ban in the context of Chinese digital economy, this paper investigates the politics of fun as it intersects with participatory politics, popular nationalism, and censorship in China today. Drawing on user-generated content and social media discussions of the game and its ban, the paper discusses how meanings of gameplay are shaped by intertwining factors including the game’s digital affordances, interactivity of gamer communities, nationalistic feelings, and the promise or confiscation of fun in China’s political climates. In doing so, it reconsiders the thesis of digital democratization by shedding light on the regulated processes of digital self-making.

Coming Out as Celebrities and Fans: The Case of Queer Vloggers on Bilibili

Presenter

100 Years of Chinese Cinema and Screen. 14 – 15 May 2021, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China.

Chinese screen cultures in a digital age are characterized by the proliferation of media genres, such as short videos and vlogs. This paper looks into the emerging trope of coming out vlogs on Bilibili, a popular youth-oriented video-sharing website in China. Started as a glocalized digital platform for Japan-inspired animation, comic, and games (ACG) culture, Bilibili affords a fertile ground for Chinese youth to participate in public discussions (Yin and Zhang 2017) and perform and explore new identities (Chen 2020). The paper explores how the platform’s cultural underpinnings and technical affordances give rise to new ways of digital self-making by situating coming out vlogs at the intersection of microcelebrity practices and queer politics in China’s digital cultural landscape. Adopting a two-pronged approach focusing on both celebrity texts, or vloggers’ entrepreneurial practices of self-branding, and fan texts, or viewers’ interactions with the vlogs through bullet curtain comments, this paper addresses the following questions: why have coming out vlogs emerged on Bilibili against the backdrop of a censored media environment? How have these coming out narratives taken shape and attracted viewership? And what queer politics do they engender?

“Contested Belongings: (Un)Imagining National Subjects in Chinese Political Cultures” 

Panel organizer and chair

AAS-in-Asia. 31 August – 4 September 2020, Kobe, Japan (online).

Despite intensifying mobilities within and beyond national borders in Asia, the constructed imaginary of unified, homogeneous “national subjects” continue to permeate political discourses and create tensions, disjunctions, and precarity in individual senses of belonging. Offering a multi-sited critical analysis of the role and intervention of “the nation” in Chinese political cultures, this panel probes into the meaning-making processes that complicate and contest official nationalist narratives, especially in terms of gender, sexuality, and affect.

“Undercurrents: Minorities and Media Margins in Asia” 

Panel organizer and chair

Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2020 Conference. 1-5 April. Denver, CO, The United States. (Conference canceled due to COVID-19)

The wide availability of digital and mobile technologies in Asia today has engendered extensive discussions in current scholarship on rapid changes in regional connectivity, transnational capital, and digital media institutions. This panel seeks to complicate these narratives of global and local media convergence by shedding light on the undertheorized and underexplored media practices at the margins of media industries, social resources, and public visibility. Through a multi-sited investigation of these media margins as sites of struggle for ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities, the panel’s four papers seek critical insights into minority media practitioners’ aspirations and imaginations, and reflect on the asymmetry and contentions in contemporary Asian mediascape.

“Rerouting Queerness: The Transpacific Travel of Broadway Musical Avenue Q”.

Presenter in panel “Decolonial Transpacific(s)” (sponsored by Verge: Studies in Global Asias). 

Association for Asian Studies 2020 Conference. 19-22 March. Boston, MA, The United States. (Conference canceled due to COVID-19)

This paper proposes “rerouting” as a way of decolonial queer thinking that recalibrates the spatial axis of knowledge production by shifting attention to how queerness gains expressions through its transpacific movement. The paper attempts to break free from queer theory’s Euro-American centrism and move towards a decolonial, multi-centered understanding of queerness by investigating the travel of the Broadway musical Avenue Q from New York (2003-2009) to Chinese cities (2015-2017). Probing into the incommensurability, friction, and nuances in the Chinese musical’s cultural mis/translation of the U.S. original’s celebratory coming out narrative and liberal pluralist gay politics, the paper reveals how queerness is complexly shaped at once by global circuits of cultural encounters and local genealogies of knowledges and politics. By doing so, it conceptualizes queerness as a continually changing, rerouted, and reroutable movement (Clifford 1997) that defies the fixity of a single location as the source of theorization.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: