As many scholars of migration studies have shown in their works, the increasingly complicated patterns of border-crossing activities in the contemporary age of globalization have posed a grave challenge to the feasibility of the nation-state model conventionally held by both the sending and receiving countries. Some have also highlighted the fact that gender politics plays a significant, while often hidden, role in shaping the phenomenon that is recognized generally as “the feminization of globalization”. Based on ethnographic research conducted on Taiwan’s three crucial sites of national borders, this talk mined the intersections between border control, state sovereignty, national belonging and “perverted sexualities”. The focus was on three forms of subjects, perceived as “sexual aliens”, whose trans-migratory acts violate the principle of biological and heterosexual reproduction that upholds the meanings, practices and institutions of border control. The normalizing regulations imposed upon these subjects, be they “lived” or “imaginary”, highlight three corresponding sites of bio-political governance at once outside of, within, and right along the borders of Taiwan’s geographical territories. While all are in keeping with the agenda of heteronormativity, these sites are situated in a distinct circuit of transnational traffic of sexualities and thus require different modes of governance. Intentionally or coincidentally, these modes of governance coordinate with each other in helping construct a nation whose sovereignty has been in perpetual crisis within the international political community.
Antonia Chao is Professor at the Department of Sociology, Tunghai University, Taiwan. She received her PhD in cultural anthropology from Cornell University (USA) in 1996. She published widely on the politics of sexuality in Taiwan, and participated in many Southeast Asian queer conferences, for example at the “Center for the Study of Sexualities” (National Central University, Jungli City, Taiwan, 1996), the “AsiaPacifiQueer” (University of Technology, Sydney, 2001), or the “Sexualities, Genders, and Rights in Asia” (Bangkok, Thailand, 2005).
Antke Engel, Institute for Queer Theory, in cooperation with Professor Sabine Hark (ZIFG, TU-Berlin) and ICI Berlin.
The lecture is part of the series The Subtle Racializations of Sexuality: Queer Theory, the Aftermath of Colonial History, and the Late-Modern State.
Western states happily turn to gender and sexual politics in order to demonstrate their presumed progressiveness. They find support from some parts of feminist and LGBTI activism that regard (neo)liberal state and diversity policies as instrumental for achieving integration and recognition. Such alliances have recently been criticized for fostering new social divisions and endorsing occidentalist and sometimes racist premises. Interested in the nuances of this critique, the lecture series brings together theoretical and political considerations developed from anti-racist, queer of colour, and/or migrant perspectives on late-modern and neoliberal state policies.
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