Historicizing Queer Stories from Asia

Petrus Liu, Yale-NUS College

Lucetta Yip Lo Kam. Shanghai Lalas: Female Tongzhi Communities and Politics in Urban China. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2012. 152 pp. $45 (cloth), $25 (paper).

J. Keith Vincent. Two-Timing Modernity: Homosocial Narrative in Modern Japanese Fiction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012. 248 pp. $40 (cloth).

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Two recent studies in queer cultural criticism, Lucetta Kam’s Shanghai Lalas and J. Keith Vincent’s Two-Timing Modernity, offer contrastive accounts of the formation of queer subjectivities, identities, and historical memories in East Asia. These two works treat different societies and come from disparate disciplines: whereas Kam’s qualitative ethnography employs interviews with twenty-five lala (lesbian, bisexual, and transgender) women in Shanghai, Vincent’s contemplative account offers insight into such topics as the betweenness of the homosocial and the homoerotic, the heterodiegetic tendencies of naturalism, and the Girardian triangle of internal mediation...