Based on ethnographic research on self-identified gay men in Northeast China, this talk addresses the ways these men worked in collaboration with, rather than against, the state. Deploying and appropriating the state-endorsed AIDS cause, they drew on the dominant moral order as a legitimate resource to attempt to stimulate gay activism while still seeking legitimacy in the mainstream culture. By declaring that elimination of homophobia was essential to curb AIDS transmission, they used AIDS activism to provide legitimacy for their gay activism.
Presenter Tiantian Zheng is professor of anthropology at State University of New York, Cortland. She is the author and coauthor of nine books, including Red Lights: The Lives of Sex Workers in Postsocialist China (Minnesota 2009), winner of the 2010 Sara A. Whaley Book Prize from the National Women’s Studies Association, and Ethnographies of Prostitution in Contemporary China, winner of the 2011 Research Publication Book Award from the Association of Chinese Professors of Social Sciences in the United States.
Sponsored by Departments of Politics, Sociology, Anthropology, and East Asian Studies; Chinese Students Association; and Oberlin Shansi.