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level7

7AAICC59 Gender and Sexualities in East Asian Popular Culture

Module convenor: Wing-Fai Leung

Credits: 20

Teaching pattern: 10 x 1 hour lecture, 10 x 1 hour seminars

Module description:

This module examines sexualities as they are represented in popular cultural products (film, television, pop music, manga, anime, fan fiction, advertising, branding, celebrity culture, social media) emanating from East Asia (China, Japan, South Korea and smaller territories, including Taiwan and Hong Kong).

It examines and analyses the complex histories of gender and sexualities in the East Asian region through traditional culture, modernisation and the effects of globalisation, digitisation and rapid social change. The module also critically examines the application of theories developed in the West (for example, gender studies, feminism, queer theories) in transnational, national and urban contexts of East Asia.

The module is organised in topics that provide breadth and depth in the study of gender and sexualities. The first five weeks consider masculinities and femininities in a range of popular film and media products (feature films, television drama, reality shows and celebrity products). The gender binary is questioned through the lecture on androgyny and the issue of sexuality and celebrity culture will be taught through specific contemporary case studies. The second part of the module takes a closer look at presenting genders in the narrative forms across popular literature, manga and online applications, culminating in the mutations of gender and sexuality discourses in the digital sphere. Through case studies, this module locates the study of gender and sexualities in distinct economic, social and cultural frameworks, and bases the debates firmly in concrete, contemporary examples.

The module will introduce students to methodological approaches used in studying gender and sexualities in popular culture, equipping students with tools to analyse these popular cultural and media products in specific national contexts. It will advance students’ understanding of the discipline of gender and sexualities studies. The classes will consist of lectures and seminars. The assessment is through an essay that examines students’ understanding of and their ability to critically analyse the key issues in the subject area.

Although no prerequisites are set for this module, students without foundational knowledge of gender and sexuality studies are encouraged to refer to seminal texts. Such texts will be included each week in the syllabus.

Module aims

  • To understand gender and sexualities as they are represented in popular cultural products (film, television, pop music, manga, anime, fan fiction, advertising, branding, celebrity culture, social media) emanating from East Asia (China, Japan, South Korea and smaller territories: Taiwan and Hong Kong)
  • To examine the unique development of the discourses surrounding gender and sexualities in the East Asian contexts
  • To increase students' knowledge of the issues of gender and sexualities in East Asian popular culture in the context of rapid technological, economic and social changes in the region
  • To assess the social and cultural impact of changing representations of gender and sexualities in the popular culture of these territories
  • To increase students' knowledge of theoretical and methodological approaches to studying gender and sexualities in the popular culture of the region

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to demonstrate their ability to:

  • Analyse the history and development of gender and sexualities presented in East Asian popular culture against the specific political, social and economic contexts
  • Demonstrate a detailed understanding of case studies from pop culture of the region
  • Critically evaluate theoretical frameworks about gender and sexualities in the East Asian contexts
  • Critically approach primary and secondary sources in researching popular culture of the East Asian territories examined in this module
  • Communicate the above knowledge in written and oral presentations

Core reading

  • The special issue of ‘Cute Studies: An Emerging Field’, East Asian Journal of Popular Culture (2016), 2(1)
  • Chiang, Feichi. 2016. "Counterpublic but Obedient: A Case of Taiwan's BL Fandom." Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 17 (2): 223. doi:10.1080/14649373.2016.1170311
  • Gloria Davies and M.E. Davies (2010) ‘Jin Xing: China’s Transsexual Star of Dance’ in L. Edwards and E. Jeffreys eds. Celebrity in China. Hong Kong: Hong Kong UP
  • Iwabuchi, Koichi, Eva Tsai, Chris Berry (eds.) (2016) Routledge Handbook of East Asian Popular Culture. London & New York: Routledge.
  • Eunju Ko, Eunha Chun & Seulgi Lee (2011) ‘Korean Beauty in a Global Cultural Context’, Journal of Global Fashion Marketing, 4(2), 200-212
  • Leung, Wing-Fai (2015) ‘Product Placement with “Chinese Characteristics”: Feng Xiaogang’s Films and Go Lala Go!’, Journal of Chinese Cinemas (2015) DOI: 10.1080/17508061.2014.995955
  • Leung, Wing-Fai (2015) ‘Who could be an Oriental Angel? Lou Jing, Mixed Heritage and the Discourses of Chinese Ethnicity’, Asian Ethnicity, 16:3, 294-313 DOI: 10.1080/14631369.2015.1015253
  • Lin, Xiaodong,  Chris Haywood, Mairtin Mac an Ghaill (eds.) (2017) East Asian Men: Masculinity, Sexuality and Desire. Basingstoke, Hampshire Palgrave Macmillan
  •  McLelland, Mark and Vera Mackie (eds.) (2015) Routledge Handbook of Sexuality Studies in East Asia. London: Routledge
  • Tang, Denise Tse-Shang (2017), ‘All I get is an emoji: dating on lesbian mobile phone app Butterfly’, Media, Culture & Society, https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443717693680

Assessment

1 x 4,000 word essay (100%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

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