An Invisible Conundrum: Visualizing “Queer Immobility” in the Contemporary PRC

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2022

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Abstract

Until the end of the 20th century, with the deepening of the Opening-up and Reform movement under the context of globalization and advancement of communication methods, both culture and economy in the PRC have achieved unprecedented success. Due to this mobilized improvement, the queer community in the PRC seems to have gained more and more visibility at the same time. In this case, the increasing queer activities in the PRC may be associated with a Westernized sense of “queer mobility”, which indicates an expanding space of recognition, identification, and presence for queer individuals. However, regarding the specific post-socialist context in the contemporary PRC, the economic, cultural, or social mobility may directly result in the phenomenon of “queer mobility”, since such progression in other aspects may potentially neglect or conceal the marginalized backwardness that has been embedded in the process of development. In other words, the sense of queer mobility cannot fully represent the intricate reality of queer subjects in the PRC. Thus, this thesis will primarily focus on the concept of “queer immobility” as an alternative to interpret the queerness in the contemporary PRC. Specifically, this queer immobility may not be understood as negative or an outright opposition to the sense of queer mobility; instead, the stress of “immobility” may offer us a novel lens to re-investigate the underlying circulation of loss and continuous melancholy structured by the spatial and psychological constraints within Chinese queer subjects. Also, the intervention of “immobility” may tentatively break the illusion of queer activism structured by the economic, cultural, or political prosperity. To visualize such queer immobility, the thesis will focus on four films in the contemporary PRC. Through the analysis of the immobilized psychological and geographical space, the thesis intends to reveal the multifaceted conundrum of Chinese queer subjects, who struggle between the mobilized illusions and uncompromising restrictions.

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Lou, Qionglin (2022). An Invisible Conundrum: Visualizing “Queer Immobility” in the Contemporary PRC. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25353.

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