Queer Asias Working Group



Dredge Byung’chu Kang, dredgekang@ucsd.edu


Faculty Members: Division of Social Sciences:

Joseph Hankins, Associate Professor, Anthropology (Japan)

Dredge Byung’chu Kang, Assistant Professor, Anthropology (Thailand, Korea, USA)

Patty Ahn, Assistant Professor, Communication (Korea, USA)

Roshanak Kheshti, Associate Professor, Ethnic Studies (Iran, USA)


Faculty Members: Division of Arts and Humanities:

Simeon Man, Assistant Professor, History (USA)

Todd Henry, Associate Professor, History (Korea)

Ari L. N. Heinrich, Associate Professor, Literature (China)

Hoang Tan Nguyen, Associate Professor, Literature (Vietnam, Thailand, USA)

Erica Cho, Assistant Professor, Visual Arts (Korea, USA)



Joseph Ruanto-Ramirez, Access Programs Advisor, Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Service (SPACES)


Graduate students:

Poyao Huang, PhD Candidate, Communication & Science Studies Program

Youngoh Jung, PhD Student, History


Will Asia always be behind? The issue of temporality and comparison to the West in regards to queer cultures, social development, and human rights typically positions Asia as a region striving to catch up to the West and a recipient of Western influence. But how do the Asias do queerness differently? How is queerness refigured by a multipolar world in which China and India are increasing their influence? How do peripheral nations like Thailand and the Philippines re-imagine queerness differently while being models for the romanticization of queer essentialisms? What does it mean for Iran to subsidize transsexual surgery? The last decade has witnessed an explosion in the scholarship on these issues, especially among scholars working within Asia. Recent publications, from the last year, are listed here by the Society for Queer Asian Studies, an affiliate of the Association for Asian Studies: https://www.sqasaas.org/recent-pubs

The “Queer Asias” working group makes an explicit move by provincializing the West in juxtaposing queer studies from disparate Asian areas and their crossings: East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, their diasporas, and inter-Asia connections. In particular, the framework of Kuan-Hsing Chen’s 2010 Asia as Method: Toward Deimperialization can be put in productive dialogue with recent work on queer temporality by Elizabeth Freeman, Heather Love, Valerie Rohy, Jack Halberstam, and Lee Edeman and queer of color critique by Roderick Ferguson, Patrick Johnson, Juana Maria Rodriguez, David Eng, and Gayatri Gopinath among others. In so doing, we seek to talk across Asian regionalisms, Asian American Studies, Critical Gender Studies, and other formations to see what might come of queer comparisons when the frame is shifted from the North Atlantic to the Asia Pacific region.

We anticipate hosting three speakers, two from North America (e.g. Afsaneh Najmabadi, Howard Chiang, Martin Manalansan, Arnika Fuhrmann) and one from Asia (e.g. Petrus Liu, Josephine Ho, Travis Kong, Audre Yue). We will also incorporate a workshop for the work of faculty and graduate students at UCSD and neighboring institutions, with the possibility of developing an edited collection.

Faculty Groups