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Talk: The unforgettable & the unspoken

Nash Lecture Theatre King's Building Strand Campus
16/10/2014 (18:30-20:00)

Part of the Arts & Humanities Festival 2014: underground.

Presented by the Lau China Institute, the Department of Film Studies and the Cultural Institute at King's.

The unforgettable & the unspoken: Oral History of Older Gay Men in Hong Kong

Travis Kong in conversation with Jeffrey Weeks OBE

In association with the exhibition in the Anatomy Museum, sociologist Travis Kong, in conversation with Jeffrey Weeks OBE, discusses his experience of regular private yam cha (‘drinking tea’) with gay men aged 60 or above in Hong Kong, which has culminated in the publication of his book, Oral History of Older Gay Men in Hong Kong.

Using the method of oral history, this book documents twelve life stories of 60+ gay men who live in Hong Kong. It captures how the complexity of their lives is interwoven with Hong Kong history as well as the difficulties and hardships they have encountered, especially due to their sexual orientation, through colonial to contemporary times. The associated art project, and resulting exhibition, provides a glimpse into the current lives of these men, many of whom are still living ‘in the closet’.

Travis Kong will show a short film about the project, followed by a short talk and discussions with Professor Weeks, before opening the dialogue up to take questions from the audience.


Travis S.K. Kong received his MA and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Essex. He is Associate Professor in Sociology and Programme Director of Master of Social Sciences in Media, Culture and Creative Cities at The University of Hong Kong. For many years, he has been researching gender/sexuality, media and culture. Critically applying contemporary Western sociological theories to the studies of homosexuality, sex industry and sexual cultures in Hong Kong and mainland China, he aims to offer new understandings of Chinese sexuality, gender, desire, identity and intimacy that are compatible to local discourses. He is the author of Chinese Male Homosexualities: Memba, Tongzhi and Golden Boy (Routledge, 2011). To date, his articles have appeared in international journals such as Body & Society, Sexualities, Gender, Work and Organization, Lancet and AIDS Care. He is co-editor of Sexualities: Studies in Culture and Society and member of the international editorial board of darkmatters: in the ruins of imperial culture (UK) and Journal of Sociology (Australia).

Jeffrey Weeks OBE is a Research Professor in the Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Studies at London South Bank University. His research interests include the history and sociology of sexuality and intimate life, with particular emphasis on LGBT identities and ways of life, changing family patterns, sexual values and ethics, and sexual theory.


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