Mobile Cultures

New Media in Queer Asia

Mobile Cultures

Console-ing Passions: Television and Cultural Power

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Book Pages: 312 Illustrations: 12 illustrations Published: April 2003

Asian Studies, Gender and Sexuality > LGBTQ Studies, Media Studies > Media Technologies

Mobile Cultures provides much-needed, empirically grounded studies of the connections between new media technologies, the globalization of sexual cultures, and the rise of queer Asia. The availability and use of new media—fax machines, mobile phones, the Internet, electronic message boards, pagers, and global television—have grown exponentially in Asia over the past decade. This explosion of information technology has sparked a revolution, transforming lives and lifestyles, enabling the creation of communities and the expression of sexual identities in a region notorious for the regulation of both information and sexual conduct. Whether looking at the hanging of toy cartoon characters like “Hello Kitty” from mobile phones to signify queer identity in Japan or at the development of queer identities in Indonesia or Singapore, the essays collected here emphasize the enormous variance in the appeal and uses of new media from one locale to another.

Scholars, artists, and activists from a range of countries, the contributors chronicle the different ways new media galvanize Asian queer communities in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, and around the world. They consider phenomena such as the uses of the Internet among gay, lesbian, or queer individuals in Taiwan and South Korea; the international popularization of Japanese queer pop culture products such as Yaoi manga; and a Thai website’s reading of a scientific tract on gay genetics in light of Buddhist beliefs. Essays also explore the politically subversive possibilities opened up by the proliferation of media technologies, examining, for instance, the use of Cyberjaya—Malaysia’s government-backed online portal—to form online communities in the face of strict antigay laws.

Contributors. Chris Berry, Tom Boellstorff, Larissa Hjorth, Katrien Jacobs, Olivia Khoo, Fran Martin, Mark McLelland, David Mullaly, Baden Offord, Sandip Roy, Veruska Sabucco, Audrey Yue


Mobile Cultures helps formulate some critical notions that unsettle the current mainstream conceptualization of sexuality and technology, and creatively offers many intriguing possibilities for theorizations of the local sexual (sub)cultures.” — Terri He, Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies

“For those intrigued by the intersection of communications technology and cultural identity, queer or otherwise, Mobile Cultures is worth consideration.” — Jim Nawrocki, Bay Area Reporter

"Mobile Cultures discusses a wide range of examples of the role of modern technologies in an equally wide range of Asian 'queer' cultures. It is a significant addition to the wide range of texts (from cinema to fiction) about Asian culture published already by the three editors." — Gregory Hughes, M/C Reviews

"[A]n exciting, satisfying and inspiring anthology that makes a significant contribution to transcultural queer studies." — Vicki Crowley, Media International Australia

"[A]n important addition to the growing field of queer media studies, and by repositioning the field away from its Euro-American coordinates, the book creates a necessary international space for critical comparative perspectives to flourish." — John Nguyet Erni, Popular Communication

"[A]n important work. . . . [T]his volume has unearthed an exciting new arena for queer studies in the intersection of new media and New Asia. Its invaluable wealth of materials, extensive coverage and theoretical sophistication can surely inspire and benefit politics, and postcolonial Asian gender-cum-techno-politics." — Yiman Wang, Quarterly Review of Film and Video

"[I]f you don't know what MOTSS BBS are ("members of the same sex bulletin board systems") and want to find out, this book would be the place to start." — Bradley Winterton, Taipei Times

"[T]he book has much to offer both scholars in an array of fields and aficionados of Asian culture." — Van Ausdall, Gay & Lesbian Review

"[T]he editors . . . have gathered fascinating essays. . . . [T]here is much here to interest readers at all levels. Recommended." — W.A. Vincent, Choice

"As spelt out lucidly in the introduction and acted on earnestly in most of the essays, Mobile Cultures as a whole has a coherent polemical take on the phenomenal rise of l/g/q formations in Asia (and other parts of the world). . . . And through concrete analysis of specific cases, the collection critically examines the question of whether the impact of globalization is homogenizing . . . or in effect 'glocalising.'" — Wei-Cheng Raymond Chu, Cultural Studies Review

"This is a rich and compelling book. . . . [T]he volume makes a major contribution to Asian studies, new media studies, and particularly queer Asian studies." — Morgan Pitelka, Journal of Men's Studies

Mobile Cultures is a feast of a collection. This compelling anthology renders the mediated queer realities of Asia within a more dynamic global frame. Studies of the Internet, cinema, and other technologies unmoor queer Asia from its static and sedentary locations. A necessary addition to the burgeoning field of transnational queer cultural studies!” — Martin F. Manalansan IV, coeditor of Queer Globalizations: Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Chris Berry is Associate Professor in Film Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is author of A Bit on the Side: East-West Topographies of Desire and editor of several books including Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy: The Genesis of China’s Fifth Generation, published by Duke University Press.

Fran Martin is Lecturer in the Cinema Studies Program at La Trobe University in Australia.

Audrey Yue is Lecturer in the Cultural Studies Program and Department of English at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction: Beep--Click--Link / Chris Berry, Fran Martin, and Audrey Yue 1

I. Interfaces: Global/Local Intersections

I Knew It Was Me: Mass Media, “Globalization," and Lesbian and Gay Indonesians / Tom Boellstorff 21

Japanese Queerscapes: Global/Local Intersections on the Internet / Mark McLelland 52

Guided Fan Fiction: Western “Readings" of Japanese Homosexual-Themed Texts / Veruska Sabucco 70

Syncretism and Synchronicity: Queer'n'Asian Cyberspace in 1990s Taiwan and Korea / Chris Berry and Fran Martin 87

Queerly Embodying the Good and the Normal / David Mullaly 115

II. Mobile Sites: New Screens, New Scenes

Singaporean Queering of the Internet: Toward a New Form of Cultural Transmission of Rights Discourse / Baden Offord 133

Pop and ma: The Landscape of Japanese Commodity Characters and Subjectivity / Larissa Hjorth 158

From Khush List to Gay Bombay: Virtual Webs of Real People / Sandip Roy 180

III. Circuits: Regional Zones

Queer Voyeurism and the Pussy-Matrix in Shu Lea Cheang's Japanese Pornography / Katrien Jacobs 201

Sexing the City: Malaysia's New “Cyberlaws" and Cyberjaya's Queer Success / Olivia Khoo 222

Paging “New Asia": Sambal Is a Feedback Loop, Coconut Is a Code, Rice Is a System / Audrey Yue 245

Bibliography 267

Contributors 293

Index 297
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3087-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3050-9
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