Speaker: Ting-Fai Yu (Monash University Malaysia)
Discussant: Wen Liu (Academia Sinica)
November 16, 2021, 14:00.
Conference Room 1, Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica
The awkward encounter between Taiwan, a small island without nation-state status, and globalization theories has long generated much anxiety in scholarly discussions. While Taiwan is widely regarded as Asia’s gay capital for lifestyle consumption, it has rarely been examined as a site that is productive of local queer resources and capable of influencing LGBT communities globally. Although Taiwan has long been included in theorizations of queer globalization, it is often positioned at the receiving end of transnational traffics, thus, a place that localizes or “hybridizes” imported products rather than globalizes other places and queers them.
Informed by the scholarship of what is now articulated as global Taiwan studies, this presentation makes a case to argue that queer Taiwan has historically been and is increasingly a globally relevant formation. Based on field research on queer mobilities between Taiwan and Chinese-speaking, or Sinophone, Malaysia, this presentation demonstrates how their queer developments are mutually productive. On the one hand, it argues that circulations of queer media, public discourses, and activist tactics from and via Taiwan have considerably shaped LGBT Malaysians’ experiences as queer Chinese subjects and influenced their ways of doing queer advocacy work as a racial minority in their home country. On the other, it highlights how the queer development in Sinophone Malaysia is fundamentally transnational and distinctive from those of other ethnolinguistic communities because of its historical links to Taiwan.
Ting-Fai Yu is Lecturer in Gender Studies at Monash University Malaysia. As an anthropologist, his research explores configurations of queerness through the lens of race, class, and mobility in different Sinophone communities (Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Taiwan). His latest works can be found in Sexualities, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and the Journal of Intercultural Studies (forthcoming). He is currently the Research Lead for the Migration in the Asia Region portfolio at the Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre.
Discussant Wen Liu is Assistant Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, in Taiwan. She received her Ph.D. from Critical Social Psychology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. As an interdiciplinary scholar on race and sexuality, she has published writings on the topics of queer psychological affect, diasporic Asian American politics, and Taiwanese identity.