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CGED Research Seminar Series

Thoughts on Key Issues of Same-Sex Desire in Traditional Chinese Society

Thoughts on Key Issues of Same-Sex Desire in Traditional Chinese Society

Speaker: Professor Wu Cuncun, School of Chinese, HKU

Respondent: Dr. Dixon Wong, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, HKU

Date: 2 November 2017 (Thursday)

Time: 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Venue: Room 4.36, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Given the current debate in Hong Kong concerning same-sex marriage, much can be learned that will contribute to our present understanding and positions by looking back and reflecting on attitudes and stances to same-sex desire in traditional Chinese society. In particular, much can be learned from cultural studies and cultural historical approaches to same-sex desire, which reveal a much more diverse story than is usually assumed. In order to better consider how same-sex desire was understood in pre-modern China, this lecture will focus on how fundamentally different the religio-cultural, legal and social status assumptions were in contrast to the modern European assumptions that came to influence social opinion through much of the world in the twentieth century.

Wu Cuncun is a Professor of traditional Chinese literature and the Head School of Chinese at the University of Hong Kong. She has published widely in both Chinese and English on late imperial Chinese fiction as well as gender and sexuality in Chinese history. Her books include Sex and Sensibility in Ming-Qing Society (People’s Literature Press, 2000), Homoerotic Sensibilities in Late Imperial China (RoutledgeCurzon, 2004),Homoeroticism in Imperial China: A Sourcebook (co-authored with Mark Stevenson, Routledge, 2012), and Drama Beyond the Drama: The Private Apartment System and Beijing Theatre Culture, 1790-1911 (Hong Kong University Press, 2017). 

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