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Towards Decolonizing Cold War Gender/Sexuality Knowledge

Towards Decolonizing Cold War Gender/Sexuality Knowledge
—NaiFei(Fifi) Ding, Amie Parry, Hans Huang, Chien-Ting Lin, Jen-Peng Liu, Department of English, National Central University/Department of Chinese Literature, National Tsing- Hua University


This project intends to understand anew a knowledge object derived from the historical division of the Cold War, including the Cold War aftermath of the United States in Asia, as well as the neo-liberal Northeast Asia and the illiberal Asia that have perpetuated until the post-Cold War era.  

The field of Humanities and Social Sciences in our time tends to consider the historical narrative of a postwar “nation-state” as the paradigm mold to produce knowledge within each discipline, and mainly takes “nation-state,” “gender,” “age,” “race,” and “class” as the basis for analysis and inference.  Moreover, as it tends to employ stages of evolvement in different time-periods as historical periodization when narrating a certain historical development, the era of “globalization,” along with the end of the Cold War, is therefore often taken as a signpost of the restructuring of the global economy, the decline of nation-state, the finale of ideology, and the re-organizing of culture, and so on and so forth.  Such a framework of knowledge, on the one hand, exposes the unfinished business of decolonization, and on the other, reveals the ways in which the Cold War effects have infiltrated into everyday life, academic thinking, and affect, all of which could be evidenced by the western progressivist historiography of state developmentalism, the imagination about freedom and democracy, the individualized pursuit of rights, the dogma of jurisprudence and order, the logic of economic freedom and market competition, etc.  It is precisely such a post-Cold War, grand narrative of “the end of history” that covers up the unfinished business of decolonization, and that indicates how the Anglo-American framework for and production of knowledge often presuppose the necessity and supremacy of western civilization and colonial development.  This project intends to understand anew a knowledge object derived from the historical division of the Cold War, including the Cold War aftermath of the United States in Asia, as well as the neo-liberal Northeast Asia and the illiberal Asia that have endured until the post-Cold War era.  While our team members have accumulated years of collaborative research in the field of sexualities study, we will, for this project, extend our own research interests based on the knowledge framework of post-Cold War Asia, having our conversations interwoven with one another and our perspectives expanded.  Naifei Ding will attend to the global classification of political competition, gender/sexuality politics, and sex-work politics resulted from the amendment of laws, a process that shows the engagement of the international judicial feminism and each individual country.  Jen-Peng Liu will illuminate national narrative embedded in the history of feminism, and national implication of Sinophone literature and feminism.  Amie Parry will address gender connotation and operational deployment within the anti-corruption enterprise of the newly formed, democratic institutions.  Through the theater aesthetics, historical thought, and bio-ethics of the left-wing queers, Hans Huang will examine the governance of gay health within the process of medical modernization.  Chien-Ting Lin will explicate the privatization and stratification of intimacy and the imagination about caretaking, and the gender/sexuality labor division and global differentiation in the stratum of the caretaking work.  The study group of this project intends to read genres including play, poem, prose, and novel, as well as texts of history, sociology, anthropology, culture, and intellectual thought.  In so doing, this project clarifies the ways in which different genres and texts mediate and, at the same time, interrogate, the subsequent division between progress and backwardness that were brought by the industrialization and financial capitalism.