We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Brown Boys and Rice Queens

Spellbinding Performance in the Asias

Eng-Beng Lim

Publication Year: 2013

A transnational study of Asian performance shaped by the homoerotics of orientalism, Brown Boys and Rice Queens focuses on the relationship between the white man and the native boy. Eng-Beng Lim unpacks this as the central trope for understanding colonial and cultural encounters in 20th and 21st century Asia and its diaspora. Using the native boy as a critical guide, Lim formulates alternative readings of a traditional Balinese ritual, postcolonial Anglophone theatre in Singapore, and performance art in Asian America.
Tracing the transnational formation of the native boy as racial fetish object across the last century, Lim follows this figure as he is passed from the hands of the colonial empire to the postcolonial nation-state to neoliberal globalization. Read through such figurations, the traffic in native boys among white men serves as an allegory of an infantilized and emasculated Asia, subordinate before colonial whiteness and modernity. Pushing further, Lim addresses the critical paradox of this entrenched relationship that resides even within queer theory itself by formulating critical interventions around “Asian performance.”
Eng-Beng Lim is Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University, and a faculty affiliate of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Department of East Asian Studies, and Department of American Studies. He is also a Gender and Sexuality Studies board member at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women.
In the Sexual Cultures series

Published by: NYU Press

Cover, Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-7


pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 8-9

read more

Preface: The Queer Genesis of a Project

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xvi

...It is now twelve years since a queer sort of Asian encounter started it all. Shortly after I arrived in California from Singapore, my former adviser, in a moment of casual butch-camp ribaldry, asked for my thoughts on rice queens and a Balinese ritual purportedly choreographed by a German guy involving many Balinese men as monkeys. I was baffled...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xvii-xxii

...Sue-Ellen Case and Susan Foster recruited me to graduate school at the turn of the new millennium while Sue-Ellen was a visiting Fulbright scholar at the National University of Singapore. I learned from them the pleasure of epistemo-erotic senses attuned to the body, to writing...

read more

Introduction: Tropic Spells, Performance, and the Native Boy

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-40

...Written by the MIT music professor Evan Ziporyn in honor of McPhee and their shared (but separate) pilgrimages to Bali in 1981 and 1931, respectively, the opera featured a lattice-like intermingling of Balinese gamelan with twenty-first-century composition and technology. It was a “multimedia phantasmagoria of Eastern...

read more

1. A Colonial Dyad in Balinese Performance

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 41-90

...filtering out to Europe and America that the island, “not Fiji or Samoa or Hawaii, was the genuine, unspoiled tropical paradise, known as yet, even by reputation, only by the cognoscenti, a category with which all of the more affluent world travelers sought to identify themselves, as...

read more

2. The Global Asian Queer Boys of Singapore

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 91-136

...From Bali to Singapore, the transmogrification of the classic white man/brown boy configuration into the postcolonial father-state vis-à-vis its gay citizenry presents a conceptual iteration of the dyad with its own erotic, juridical, and performative spells. This “twist” involves...

read more

3. G.A.P. Drama, or The Gay Asian Princess Goes to the United States

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 137-166

...The acronym G.A.P., which stands variously for Gay Asian Princess, Gay Asian Pacific, or Gay Asian Performance, is a mock assemblage of puns, wayward Asian identifications, and queer acts on improper routes and cartographies. Neither a fixed genre of theater nor an identity marker of...

read more

Conclusion: Toward a Minor-Native Epistemology in Transcolonial Borderzones

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 167-190

...In her now classic essay “Where Have All the Natives Gone?,” Rey Chow likens modernity’s preoccupation with nativizing cultures to a colonial visual technology in which the native becomes useful and falsely knowable to her onlooker. Using photography as her key example...


pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 191-220


pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 221-232

read more

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 233-233

...Eng-Beng Lim is Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University, where he is on the Gender and Sexuality Studies Board at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, and a faculty affiliate of the Center for the Study of Race and...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814760567
E-ISBN-10: 0814760562
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814760895
Print-ISBN-10: 0814760899

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 860626220
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Brown Boys and Rice Queens

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Orientalism -- Case studies.
  • Asia -- Race relations -- Case studies.
  • Sex role -- Asia -- Case studies.
  • Queer theory -- Asia -- Case studies.
  • Postcolonialism -- Asia -- Case studies.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access