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Queer Politics and Sexual Modernity inTaiwan

Hans Tao-Ming Huang

Publication Year: 2011

This book analyses the critical reception of Pai Hsien-yung’s Crystal Boys, one of Taiwan’s first recognized gay novels, and one which has played an important role in redefining sexual modernity and linking this to ongoing cultural dialogues on state building. It examines the deployment of sexuality over the past five decades in Taiwan by paying particular attention to male homosexuality and prostitution. In addition to literary and film material, the study engages a number of relevant legal cases and media reports. Through Hans Huang’s primary research and historical investigations, the book not only illuminates the construction of gendered sexual identities in Taiwanese culture but also, in a reflexive fashion, critiques the culture that produces them.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Series: Queer Asia

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pp. vii

This book originated in my PhD dissertation, which was carried out between 1996 and 2001 at the University of Sussex, UK, the last one third being completed during the last three years at National Central University of Taiwan, where I now teach. I would not have been able to undertake extended research and writing over this period of time had there not been the support of...

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pp. 1-29

How has male homosexuality been configured within the space of national/ state culture in Taiwan since 1949? Under what normative conditions and regulatory regimes of gender and sexuality has the male homosexual body been materialised? Through what discursive means does the individual, interpolated as male homosexual, articulate himself as the desiring subject...

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1. Mental Hygiene and the Regime of Sexuality: The Case of The Man Who Escapes Marriage

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pp. 31-52

This chapter accounts for the construction of male homosexuality from the 1950s through the 1970s by tracking ways in which male same-sex relations and genital acts are configured in psychological discourse integral to the apparatus of sexuality. By ‘apparatus of sexuality’, I follow Foucault by construing sexuality as a discursive product of institutional knowledge and...

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2. Prostitution, Perversion and AIDS: The Secrets of the ‘Glass Clique’

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pp. 53-81

This chapter examines the representation of male homosexuality in national newspapers from the 1950s through to the 1980s. Following the previous chapter’s investigation into the apparatus of xingxinli or ‘sexuality’, this one describes a process whereby this apparatus came to be installed within the domain of news production. As mental hygiene experts continued to inculcate...

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3. State Power, Prostitution and Sexual Order: Towards a Genealogical Critique of ‘Virtuous Custom’

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pp. 83-111

This chapter concerns the state regulation of sexualities and the formation of gendered subjectivities in postwar Taiwan. It considers, by way of genealogical investigation, the policed culture of sex under the regulatory regime of ‘virtuous custom’ (shanliang fengsu) as sustained by the now defunct Police Offence Law. By analysing the police and journalistic discourse of...

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4. From Glass Clique to Tongzhi Nation: Crystal Boys, Identity Formation and Politics of Sexual Shame

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pp. 113-142

This chapter addresses the central problematic of the book that I posed in the introductory chapter by proposing a historically and movement-wise contextualised reading of Crystal Boys. It begins by showing the making of Crystal Boys as a male homosexual sign in the 1980s in Taiwan, and proceeds to examine the imagined communities represented within and configured...

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5. Modernising Gender, Civilising Sex: State Feminism and Perverse Imagination

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pp. 143-171

With this little poem, Liu Yu-hsiu, Taiwan’s foremost state feminist, commenced her presentation in the Third National Women’s Conference in Taipei in 1998, a year named as the Year of Equality Action. Expressively serene, the poem reflects a feminist sense of hope, an optimism gesturing towards a new era when the feminine virtue of love replaces masculine...

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6. Mourning the Monogamous Ideal: Anti-Prostitution Feminism, Conjugal Sentimentality and the Formation of Melancholic Sexual Modernity

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pp. 173-200

Having delineated the contour of state feminism and its normative dimensions, this chapter continues to query the moral-sexual regime of the mainstream feminist culture by considering its emotional and affective make-up. By way of concluding this work of queer historiography in Taiwan, this chapter concerns itself with the analysis of a dominant form...

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pp. 201-205

When I was working on my PhD dissertation in England in the mid-to-late 1990s, an event occurred in Taiwan which made a profound impact on me. I am referring to the former president Chen Shu-bian’s abrupt abrogation of licensed prostitution in 1997, which in turn sparked off the prostitutes’ rights movement in Taiwan. Employing...


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pp. 207-238

Glossary of Special Names and Terms

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pp. 239-246


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pp. 247-269


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pp. 271-275

E-ISBN-13: 9789888053803
Print-ISBN-13: 9789888083077

Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Queer Asia