University of Nottingham Ningbo China
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Conditional Intimacy: Same-Sex Contract Marriage in Chinese Cyberspace

TB 405
25 March 2016 (16:00-17:30)

Giovanna Comerio -

Lily Yu -


In recent years, ‘contract marriage’ (xingshi hunyin) has become a popular practice for gays and lesbians in China, who, on the one hand, enjoy the freedom the new sexualities and subjectivities bring them, and, on the other, are forced into heteronormative marriages by their families and the society. 

Why do gays and lesbians choose to ‘fake’ their marriages in this way?  How does the marriage work, in paper and in practice?  Has this type of ‘queer marriage’ opened up possibilities for non-normative ways of sociality and intimacy?  This talk explores the attractions and frustrations of ‘being normal’ as sexual minorities living in a heteronormative society.

Hongwei Bao is assistant professor in Media Studies at the University of Nottingham, UK.  He has a PhD in Gender and Cultural Studies from the University of Sydney, Australia.  His research focuses on gender, sexuality and media culture in contemporary China.  He has published articles in Cultural Studies, Culture Unbound, Interventions, Health, Culture and Society and Queer Paradigms.

About the ‘Gender, Culture and Identities Dialogues’

With a focus on gender, culture and identities, the series broadens the learning experience of students from all faculties. Staff from different schools and campuses, speakers from student societies and the broader community will meet students and give them an opportunity to discuss and learn together.  Students will explore the identity through the notions of gender, identity, and culture. Topics will range from gender to feminism, from women and career to masculinity, and intercultural communication. 

The series is supported by the Faculty of Arts and Education and the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Once a month:

  • Meet in a supportive and stimulating environment
  • Share your views and opinions about various aspects of identity
  • Talk with scholars from different disciplines and experts from various backgrounds