Transtopia In The Sinophone Pacific Book
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RELEASE DATE - 9 FEBRUARY 2021
As a broad category of identity, “transgender” has given life to a vibrant field of academic research since the 1990s. Yet the Western origins of the field have tended to limit its cross-cultural scope. Howard Chiang proposes a new paradigm for doing transgender history in which geopolitics assumes central importance. Defined as the antidote to transphobia, transtopia challenges a minoritarian view of transgender experience and makes room for the variability of transness on a historical continuum.
Against the backdrop of the Sinophone Pacific, Chiang argues that the concept of transgender identity must be rethought beyond a purely Western frame. At the same time, he challenges China-centrism in the study of East Asian gender and sexual configurations. Chiang brings Sinophone studies to bear on trans theory to deconstruct the ways in which sexual normativity and Chinese imperialism have been produced through one another.
Grounded in an eclectic range of sources―from the archives of sexology to press reports of intersexuality, films about castration, and records of social activism―this book reorients anti-transphobic inquiry at the crossroads of area studies, medical humanities, and queer theory. Timely and provocative, Transtopia in the Sinophone Pacific highlights the urgency of interdisciplinary knowledge in debates over the promise and future of human diversity.
"It is not often that one can predict when a book will set the agenda or change the debate in an academic field. Transtopia in the Sinophone Pacific is such a book. It marks a transnational and postidentitarian moment in transgender studies and signals the coming-of-age for queer Sinophone studies. Brilliantly conceived, lucidly written, and politically engaging, this book sets a new benchmark for queer and transgender scholarship. It will be discussed and debated by scholars for a long time to come."
Hongwei Bao, author of Queer China: Lesbian and Gay Literature and Visual Culture Under Postsocialism
"This book exemplifies adventurous history at its best and represents a monumental achievement of deep archival work and theoretical acuity. It offers a new kind of queer history, one alert not merely to a nation and its peripheries but to mapping "minor-to-minor relations" that does not take the nation-state as its centre of gravity. Chiang's recasting of the borders of transness with the concept of transtopia strikes me as a once-in-a-generation insight and one that promises to reorient much of trans studies. Transtopia in the Sinophone Pacific is a work of immense importance to historians of China, theorists of transnationalism and globality, and scholars of gender and sexuality."
Benjamin Kahan, author of The Book of Minor Perverts: Sexology, Etiology, and the Emergences of Sexuality
"More than a work of transgender and queer theory, more than a study of gender and sexuality in the Sinosphere, Howard Chiang's Transtopia in the Sinophone Pacific makes a significant conceptual and methodological intervention in how to draw transversal connections across time, place, and scale between different kinds of gender mutability."
Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History