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Obsession

Male Same-Sex Relations in China, 1900-1950

Wenqing Kang

Publication Year: 2009

This is the most serious study to date on the topic of male same-sex relations in China during the early twentieth century, illuminating male same-sex relations in many sites: language, translated sexological writings, literary works, tabloid newspapers, and opera. Documenting how nationalism and colonial modernity reconfigured Chinese discourses on sex between men in the early twentieth century, Wenqing Kang has amassed a wealth of material previously overlooked by scholars, such as the entertainment news and opinion pieces related to same-sex relations published in the tabloid press.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

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Acknowledgements

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pp. ix-x

The origin of this book was the doctoral dissertation I completed at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2006. First and foremost, I want to express my deepest gratitude to my mentor, Gail Hershatter, for her unfailing support during my years of graduate study. She read and commented on every single word of numerous drafts of each chapter. Her patience and the time she ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-18

This book is a study of male same-sex relations in China during the first half of the twentieth century. During this period, a rich vocabulary existed to describe such relationships, which were frequently discussed in translated sexological writings, literary works, publications concerning the Peking Opera field and, most prominently, tabloid newspapers. In these various social and ...

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1. The Language of Male Same-Sex Relations in China

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pp. 19-39

A huge vocabulary describing male same-sex relations, and men engaged in such relations, suggests that the issue was not a silent one in China during the first half of the twentieth century. These terms included: duanxiupi ...

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2. Sexology

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pp. 41-59

As argued in the previous chapter, Western sexological understandings of male same-sex relations could gain a footing in China during the first half of the twentieth century because they shared comparable conceptual contradictions with indigenous Chinese thoughts on the issue. This chapter ...

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3. Literary Intimacies

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pp. 61-83

This chapter explores how intimate relations between men were represented in a number of literary works by major and minor writers—Yu Dafu, Huang Shenzhi, Ye Dingluo, Guo Moruo, and Ye Lingfeng—from the 1920s to the early 1930s. In both China and the United States, writings on male same-sex ...

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4. Tabloid Sex and Cultural Conservatives

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pp. 85-113

I call these tabloid writers the cultural conservatives. They were generally learned men who were well-versed in classical Chinese texts and wrote regularly for the growing reading public. Like the May Fourth/New Culture intellectuals, they were nationalists disturbed by the semi-colonial status of China. However ...

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5. Actors and Patrons

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pp. 115-144

The practice by which literati hired boy actors instead of courtesans as social and sexual company to entertain at their banquets began in the mid-Ming, and became a symbol of refined cultural taste and elite social status in the late Ming. Boy actors were more expensive than courtesans, and being able to afford a boy ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 145-148

Male same-sex relations in China during the first half of the twentieth century appeared in many different sites: language, translated sexological writings, literary works, tabloid newspapers, and the Peking opera field. It is important to note that these five areas were not isolated: they overlapped ...

Notes

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pp. 149-173

Bibliography

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pp. 175-184

Index

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pp. 185-191


E-ISBN-13: 9789888052615
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622099807

Page Count: 204
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Queer Asia

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Male homosexuality -- China.
  • Gay men -- China.
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