China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
This multidisciplinary panel considers experiences and representations of Chinese masculinity in an era of globalization, travel and transcultural flows. Recent scholarship has pointed to the inherently gendered nature of mobility; in China, travel and movement have been historically associated with constructions of manhood. How, then, have increased migration, transnational movement and cultural exchange affected experiences and perceptions of Chinese masculinities in the past two decades? How have notions of manhood and men shifted, and what continuities remain?
The papers consider a broad cross-section of Chinese society, revealing the diverse ways in which masculinities are imagined and enacted. Susanne YP Choi explores the ties between migration, masculinity and respect in the case of security guards in South China, revealing the fraught negotiations with gender that appear as they move from rural to urban settings. Derek Hird considers middle-class men as socioeconomically and geographically mobile subjects who engage with both Western and Confucian ideals of masculinity. Pamela Hunt turns to the road movies and novels of the celebrity Han Han, demonstrating the ironic link between travel, rebellion and conservative masculinity in his works and public persona. Finally, Jamie Zhao discusses the often-overlooked topic of female masculinity through a discussion of the recent trend of tomboyism amongst young female pop singers.
Overall the panel provides a discussion of masculinities that are ‘on the move’ in a geographic, cultural and conceptual sense. In the process, it echoes recent scholarly conversations that call for greater attention to be paid to masculinity within Chinese gender studies.