The working group in Gender and Queer Theory in South and Southeast Asia hopes to establish itself as an interdisciplinary forum for students interested in the intersections between contemporary queer and gender theories and South and Southeast Asian area studies. Encompassing a broad understanding of gender and sexuality, this group will investigate a wide range of critical texts and cultural practices. Recastings and transformations of gender roles and sexual categories figure prominently in South and Southeast Asia’s histories, catalyzing transformations within broader processes of colonialism, nationalism, capitalism, democratization, globalization, and neoliberalism. We will explore ways in which Western gender and queer theories benefit from and are challenged by a more thorough engagement with the theoretical insights that have emerged from the study of gender, sexuality, and queer subjectivities in the Southeast and South Asian contexts, collectively producing more compelling readings of gender, queer, and critical race theories alongside a more nuanced understanding of South and Southeast Asia. Ultimately the aim is to create a space where students from diverse disciplines can meet to explore works and topics that fail to receive a sustained engagement in other UCB intellectual spaces. By approaching gender and queer theory as a site of struggle that analyzes the global, national, and transnational power relations embedded in the formulation of feminist concepts, consciousness, and actions, this group promises to expand gender and queer theory beyond the Western context by situating gender, sexuality and queer as ideologies in relation to the political geography of the global North and South.
The Center for Southeast Asia Studies is located in the 2223 Fulton Street building at the intersection of Kittredge and Fulton streets.