University of Nottingham Ningbo China
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A 'Cool Child': Translating Queer Theory in China

27 September 2018 (18:00-19:30)
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Speaker: Hongwei Bao

Since the 1990s, a group of Chinese scholars, filmmakers and artists have actively and strategically used the term ‘queer’ (ku’er) to refer to sexual minorities, and to name a particular type of scholarship, film and artworks. What is ‘queer’ and how is it different from other terms such as ‘homosexual’ (tongxinglian), gay, or even ‘comrade’ (tongzhi 同志)? What is ‘queer theory’ (ku’er lilun)? How has queer theory travelled to China from its Euro-American origins? What’s ‘Chinese’ about the queer theory produced in China? In this talk, I will trace the genealogy of ‘queer’ from the Euro-American West to Mainland China. In doing so, I unravel the politics of translation by leading queer scholars, filmmakers and artists, and offer a critical overview of how ‘queer’ and queer theory have shaped LGBT identities and history in China today.


Dr Hongwei Bao is Assistant Professor in Media Studies at the University of Nottingham (UK). His research primarily focuses on queer film, community media, and political activism in contemporary China. He is the author of Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China (NIAS Press, 2018).


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