Conditional Spaces: Hong Kong Lesbian Desires & Everyday Life

DeniseTang_flierIn this talk Tang investigates how Hong Kong women with lesbian desires have identified multiple spaces in this dense urban environment to assert lesbian visibility and to negotiate lesbian identity politics. Hong Kong’s positioning remains complex as a predominantly Chinese global capitalist city ever since the 1997 handover to mainland China. Based on extensive interviews with 30 self-identified lesbians, bisexual women and transgender lesbians living in Hong Kong, Tang attempts to map the complex relations between lesbian subjectivities and spatialities as they emerge, develop, interact and negotiate with each other in everyday living. Tang proposes to understand Hong Kong lesbian culture through an analysis of spaces in their multiplicities and ambiguous codings, and as forms of resistance shaping daily life.

Denise Tse-Shang Tang is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Hong Kong and author of Conditional Spaces: Hong Kong Lesbian Desires and Everyday Life (2011). Her research interests include urban spaces, gender and sexuality, queer studies, celebrity culture and new media. Tang has worked with NGOs on issues surrounding violence against women, aboriginal women, LGBT communities, mental health and HIV/AIDS and served as Director of the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the UC Berkeley Center for the Study of Sexual Culture. For more information, please contact cssc@berkeley.edu


The Precarity of Queer Failure: From Orientalism to Incarceration

Takemoto_posterTina Takemoto discusses the precarity of queer failure in Memoirs of a Björk-Geisha and Looking for Jiro, two of her works interrogating art world orientalism and Japanese American incarceration through musical mash-up drag performance. While Björk-Geisha performs chopstick harakiri in protest of Matthew Barney’s and Björk’s artistic forays in Japan, Jiro confronts forbidden homoerotic fantasy in the camp mess hall. Takemoto reflects on the psychic toll of embodying toxic stereotypes as well as the challenges of performing queer failure in alternative visions of Asian American history. Queer failure can engage the affective dimensions of loss and disappointment that accompany LGBTQI existence as well as its utopian potentiality as a mode of resistance and queer world making. For queer Asian American performers, this response to homophobia and homonormativity is complicated by the rapid consumption of exotic spectacles and the consequences of racial and sexual misrecognition.

Tina Takemoto is a visual studies scholar, performance artist, and associate professor at California College of the Arts whose work explores issues of race, illness, queer identity, memory, and grief. Her current artwork and research explore the LGBT experience of the Japanese American Incarceration Camps during World War II. She has received grants funded by Art Matters, Andy Warhol Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and San Francisco Arts Commission.

This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the UC Berkeley Center for the Study of Sexual Culture. For more information, please contact cssc@berkeley.edu