Beijing meets Hawai’i: Reflections on Ku’er, indigeneity, and queer theory

Jia Tan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Although scholars who work on Asia and those who work on indigenous studies have both critiqued the epistemic structure of queer studies for particularizing the non-West and thus supporting the domination of the West, they are hardly in dialogue. This article offers a rethinking of queer theory and practice useful to both area studies and indigenous studies by exploring the discussion generated from the screening of Kumu Hina, a documentary about a Hawaiian Mahu in the Beijing Queer Film Festival and a brief history of ku’er (queer) media culture and discourse in China. Thinking beyond the binaries of West/East and white/indigeneity, this article calls for a kind of transversal queer alliance that does not equate "cultural specificity" with cultural authenticity but critically uses it as an entry point to reveal the structural hierarchy between the local and the global, the particular and the universal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-150
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • Indigeneity
  • Ku’er
  • Media
  • Queer theory


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