Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Martin, F., Jackson, P. A., McLelland, M. J. & Yue, A. (2008). Introduction. In F. Martin, P. Jackson, M. J. McLelland & A. Yue (Eds.), AsiaPacifiQueer: Rethinking Genders and Sexualities (pp. 1-27). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.


In July 2005, in the tropical atmosphere of Bangkok's wet season, the largest-ever gathering of queer studies scholars in Asia took place. Six hundred academics and activists from across the region, from Colombo to Seoul and from Tehran to Singapore, converged to deliver and listen to papers presented at "Sexualities, Genders, and Rights in Asia: The First International Conference of Asian Queer Studies:' The three packed days of the conference, which consisted of seven parallel streams presented in multiple languages, demonstrated conclusively the emergence of a vibrant new academic field: queer studies of Asian contexts conducted by researchers working in Asia. No longer the sole province of Western-trained "experts" drawing on imported theory to account for local sexual and gender cultures, Asian queer studies emerged decisively from this conference as an enterprise carried out by researchers working within Asia itself. Significantly, the self-confident field of Asian queer studies represented at this conference was not preoccupied with speaking "back" to the presumptive center of queer studies in the English-speaking West but rather sought to articulate direct intraregional conversations among diverse locations in Asia.