CCCI Lecture Series: Professor Tiantian Zheng (Professor of Anthropology, SUNY Cortland) - "Health and Social Activism of Self-Identified Gay Men in Postsocialist China"
February 23, 2015
Based on ethnographic research on self-identified gay men in Northeast China, this talk addresses the ways in which these self-identified gay men cope with the hostile social environment through consciously shifting identities between the public and the private. In public, these gay men perform manhood and seek to erase traces of their gayness to emulate and achieve legitimacy in the mainstream culture. In private, they draw on mainstream discourse to infuse new meanings in it, refute and defy against social prejudice, and resignify gayness. In so doing, they are caught in a paradox of simultaneously resisting and embracing mainstream culture, thereby reinscribing and reinforcing negative images of gay identity. This talk unfolds in three sections. Professor Zheng first discusses the background of emerging gay culture in contemporary China. Then, she explores the self-identified gay men's health and social activism in postsocialist China. In the third section, she examines the ways in which they embrace and appropriate mainstream culture to elude stigma and discrimination. In conclusion, she argues that the contradiction embedded in their shifting identities ultimately mitigate and undercut the goals they aspire to reach, perpetuate social prejudice against them, and thwart the activism they purport to do.
For more information: eap.einaudi.cornell.edu/ccci-spring-2015