Translating Homosexuality and Tragic Romance Questions Response There is no upper limit to how many words you write, however you must write a minimum of 50

Translating Homosexuality and Tragic Romance Questions Response There is no upper limit to how many words you write, however you must write a minimum of 500 words total per homework. Answer the questions as well as you can. Please do not plagiarize, copy material from the internet, or copy another student’s work. Please read each assignment, and then write the journal notes in your own words. Your weekly written homework is a resource that you can use when reviewing materials for the late-term exam.

One: READ “Translating Homosexuality: Answer the questions.

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Answer the following questions: Some scholars have suggested that China imported Western psychological ideas wholesale, for example Western attitudes about sexuality. What does Sang think? What are some examples of intellectual debate about sexuality that Sang gives? Who was Zhang Jingsheng, aka. “Dr. Sex”? What did he translate and whom did it impact? Who was Pan Guangdan? What was a “Republican Era” view of homosexuality?

Two: READ “Tragic Romance: The Going-In Story,” Fran Martin, Backward Glances: Contemporary Chinese Cultures and the Female Homoerotic Imaginary, Durham: Duke University Press, 2010: 29-48. Answer the following questions: What are some key features of the “schoolgirl romances” that Martin describes? Would you say that the schoolgirl romances are conservative or progressive in general, according to Martin’s reading? What does Martin mean when she mentions the “universalizing model of the temporary schoolgirl lover” and “the minoritizing understanding of the lifelong tomboy” (48)?

Total gonna be 600 words. Each 300 words.

Please remember to use quotes from the readings in your answer. When you insert a quote from the readings, don’t forget to note exactly where the quote comes from. Please use footnotes or endnotes, and include the author, title, and page number of the source of your quote. one

Tragic Romance
The Chinese Going-In Story
Over ten years ago, Bret Hinsch concluded his argument on the decline of
premodern Chinese conceptualizations of same-sex sexual behavior with the
gloomy assertion that “The fluid conceptions of sexuality of old, which assumed that an individual was capable of enjoying a range of sexual acts, have
been replaced by the ironclad Western dichotomy of homosexual/heterosexual. Instead of . . . terms taken from [Chinese] history and literature,
Chinese now speak of “homosexuality” (tongxinglian or tongxingai ), a direct
translation of the Western medical term that defines a small group of pathological individuals according to a concrete sexual essence.”1 Despite some
scholarly disagreement with Hinsch’s historical oversimplification, the view
that modern Chinese cultures conceptualize sexuality primarily in terms of
a rigid and indicatively Western dichotomy between the terms “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” remains influential.2 In the pages that follow,
however, I want to propose a different framework for approaching Chinese
sexual epistemologies in the context of twentieth-century modernization.
In relation to post-Foucaldian scholarship on the history of sexuality, Eve
Sedgwick cautions that “the historical search for a Great Paradigm Shift may
obscure the present conditions of sexual identity.”3 This warning is certainly
apposite to the study of the history of sexuality in twentieth-century China:
as Sang’s work implies, an analysis like the one made by Hinsch is open to
precisely this kind of critique in its simplistic construction of Westernization
as effecting just such a radical, total, and irreversible break with “Chinese
sexual tradition.”4 Further, pursuing the implications of Sedgwick’s warning
even more explicitly into the territory of cross-cultural sexuality studies, I
would propose that the geocultural search for a great paradigm divergence be-
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tween the West and its “others”—a search that implicitly propels many crosscultural and sexuality studies—may obscure the conditions of sexual cultures
in both places. Reducing the question to be asked of disparate sexual cultures
to “How does the understanding of sexuality there differ from our understanding of sexuality in the modern West?” entails some specific risks.
First, such a formulation implies that sexuality in the modern West is a
self-evident object of knowledge, whereas, as Sedgwick forcefully demonstrates, this is very far from the case; modern, Euro-American sexual epistemology is nothing if not multiple, discontinuous, and riven with internal
contradictions.5 The attribution of an ironclad dichotomy between heterosexual and homosexual to modern Western culture ignores the fundamental incoherence of the hetero/homo distinction in this context. To take an
example from material close at hand: the chronic strain that Sedgwick observes between minoritizing and universalizing accounts of homosexuality is
illustrated clearly in Havelock Ellis’s anxious distinction between temporary
and congenital female homosexualities, which, as this chapter will demonstrate, had a significant impact on Republican Chinese accounts of samesex love. That strange category, “temporary homosexuality,” has a peculiarly
solvent effect on that supposedly unassailable fortress of modern Western
sexual epistemology, the homo/hetero division. For surely the “temporarily
homosexual” schoolgirl is, in effect, a kind of homosexual heterosexual or heterosexual homosexual. Through her, the supposedly hermetically sealed category of
heterosexuality is infiltrated by the possibility of homosexual desires and behaviors; likewise, the outward appearance of homosexuality is belied by the
potential of latent heterosexuality. The deconstructive critique of the homo/
hetero divide that has been advanced by queer analysis reveals the extent to
which modern Western sexual culture is genuinely anxious, genuinely unable
to rule, once and for all, where the homosexual leaves off and the heterosexual begins.6 What characterizes modern Western sexual culture, this work
has shown, is not so much an ironclad distinction between homosexuality
and heterosexuality as the repeated, panicked attempt to impose such a distinction on a body of knowledge and experience that is in reality defined by an
uncontrollable indeterminacy. Given this, in approaching the transculturation of Western sexual knowledges into Chinese contexts in the early twentieth century, our first question should not be about how originally complex
understandings of selves and bodies are reduced to something simple and
ironclad. Rather, we should ask how the already complexly incoherent and
anxious discourses of European sexology get transfigured into a related yet
distinct set of incoherencies and anxieties in Chinese contexts.
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The issue of cross-cultural conversations on sexuality relates to the second problem with the search for a great paradigm divergence between EuroAmerican sexual understandings and their “others”: it implies that “other”
sexualities will necessarily be meaningful primarily in terms of their selfevident differences from modern, Western ones. Yet given that in the modern
period non-Western sexual knowledges are never entirely isolable from Western ones, it makes little sense to assume in advance that the most meaningful relation between modern Chinese and Western sexualities will be one of
contrast; more often, the relation between them turns out to be one of proximity—neither identity nor otherness, but a complex relation of adjacency
and interconnection.7 Instead of asking how Chinese sexual paradigms decisively diverge from Western ones, then, it may prove more fruitful to ask
which particular strands within modern Western discourses of sexuality are
taken up and continued elsewhere. How are discourses that already begin
life as multiple and internally contradictory translated and transcultured to
produce the distinctive formations of Chinese sexual modernities? These are
some of the questions addressed in this chapter.
Looking with a careful eye over the field of modern Chinese cultural production, in addition to a minoritizing understanding of female homosexuals
as a distinct and finite group of sexually variant individuals, we also find alternative sexual epistemologies, ways of knowing feminine sexuality that resist
articulation in the language of homosexual/heterosexual opposition.8 The
coming-out narrative, which retrospectively both describes and constructs
the moment of the lesbian or gay individual’s discovery of her or his “true”
sexual identity, is a central one for modern Euro-American sexual cultures.9
In fact, in its installation of a concrete and essential homosexual identity
within its protagonist the coming-out story exemplifies the very sexual epistemology whose supposed supersession over older nonidentitarian Chinese
understandings Hinsch bemoans. And with the late-twentieth-century emergence of lesbian and gay movements in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, the coming-out story has indeed become a common narrative in these
contexts. Yet alongside the coming-out story and its attendant minoritizing
epistemology there also persists here another kind of sexual story. Over the
three chapters that follow, I examine the influential modern Chinese narrative of temporary same-sex love between adolescent girls remembered after
the fact; I call this the memorial schoolgirl romance or, in contrast to the
coming-out story, the “going-in story” (as it narrates a going into rather than
a coming out of heterosexual relations, or, alternatively, a going out of rather
than a coming into homosexual ones). Although, like the rhetoric of minoriTragic Romance
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tarian homosexual identity, the history of this narrative can be traced in part
back to the Chinese translation of European sexology in the early twentieth
century, this narrative produces female homosexuality on a universalizing
model that notably distinguishes it from the homo/hetero opposition’s instantiation of homosexuality as a minority identity.
I begin by sketching out the historical context of the going-in story’s
emergence in early-twentieth-century China before analyzing two literary
examples of the narrative: Lu Yin’s “Lishi de riji” (Lishi’s Diary, 1923) and
Ling Shuhua’s “Shuo you zheme yihui shi” (“Once upon a Time,” 1928). As
these readings demonstrate, taking the going-in story seriously, as befits its
remarkable cultural pervasiveness, throws into relief the multiplicity and
complexity of modern Chinese sexual epistemologies. While such epistemic
incoherence structurally parallels the condition of modern Euro-American
sexual knowledges, nevertheless, as I will show, the distinctive emphases
and generic preoccupations of modern Chinese sexual narratives make them
irreducible to—if also intractably entangled with—their Euro-American
counterparts. Through a discussion of Yu Dafu’s novella “Ta shi yige ruo
nüzi” (She Was a Weak Woman, 1932), the second part of the chapter traces
some of the literary and cultural roots of what would in the late twentieth
century become a minoritizing discourse on the tomboy as an embodiment
of sexual and gender deviance. Yet as I will show, translated European sexological understandings were not straightforwardly or uncritically reproduced
in Yu’s novella any more than they were in Lu’s and Ling’s stories, for Yu’s
masculine, same-sex-desiring schoolgirl, Li Wenqing, cannot be interpreted
as simply a Chinese version of the Euro-American mannish lesbian but represents a far more complex transcultural amalgam.
Transcultured Sexology: Sexual Modernity via Japan
Despite the common assumption that the Chinese invention of “homosexuality” as tongxinglian or tongxing’ai is a direct translation from European
sources and hence best understood as a straightforward instance of cultural
Westernization, in fact, as Sang has shown, the category tongxing’ai first
entered modern Chinese in the 1920s not directly from European sexology,
but rather refracted through the Japanese translation, d?seiai.10 This double
transculturation from English and German through Japanese to Chinese
raises the possibility that early Chinese constructions of homosexuality may
have been colored, in part, by Japanese selections and interpretations of the
material.11 In light of this Japanese connection, it is interesting to note that
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the coinage of the modern Japanese term d?seiai in the opening decades of
the twentieth century was strongly linked with contemporaneous attempts
specifically to describe romantic friendships between female students in
modern educational institutions.12 Sociologist Furukawa Makoto writes as
follows: “Homosexuality among female students [in the first decades of the
twentieth-century in Japan] encouraged the introduction of the term d?seiai
(homosexuality) to express an erotic relationship between two partners of
the same sex, since the existing terms, nanshoku and keikan, applied only to
men. A number of terms developed, through the translation from foreign
literature. . . . These terms gradually converged on d?seiai, with the nature of
female homosexuality playing an important role in this process.”13
The term d?seiai had become standard usage by Meiji sexologists by the
1920s.14 It thus entered circulation just after the popularization of the modern term sh?jo (girl), a novel category designating feminine adolescence as
a distinct experiential period within a woman’s life between childhood and
adulthood. Sh?jo was also inherently a sexualized category, as it implied the
concept of virginity, not previously a defining characteristic of young female
personhood.15 As Tomoko Aoyama and others have pointed out, from the
outset the concept of sh?jo was associated with the consolidation of a distinct
sh?jo bunka (girls’ culture), linked to the establishment of women’s education,
the translation of American girls’ fiction and the publication of (frequently
homoerotic) girls’ stories by popular woman author Yoshiya Nobuko, the rise
of a lively sh?jo magazine culture, and the targeting of sh?jo as consumers of
a range of other commercial products.16 The conceptual possibility of female
homosexuality, in d?seiai, thus emerges in the same cultural moment as the
idea and cultural practices of feminine adolescence in sh?jo.17 And as both
Furukawa and Gregory Pflugfelder illustrate, early-twentieth-century Japanese discussions of d?seiai were indeed marked by a selective emphasis on
discussions of romantic love between sh?jo.18 Over the course of the opening decades of the twentieth century, d?seiai became associated more and
more with adolescent girls, ultimately producing an understanding in prewar
Japan, Furukawa proposes, “of [d?seiai] as lesbianism.”19
Pflugfelder emphasizes that early-twentieth-century Japanese sexologists, journalists, and feminists reached no consensus on the significance of
intimate relations between girls, producing instead a “discursive fray” that,
“through its very clamorousness, helped keep the schoolgirl at the forefront
of early twentieth-century debate on gender and sexuality.”20 Pflugfelder’s
study reveals an intricate snarl of competing constructions of d?seiai between
schoolgirls in early-twentieth-century Japanese public discourse, including
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not just those who, taking a cue from Richard von Krafft-Ebing, saw it in a
pathologizing and minoritizing light as a congenital sexual defect, but also
those who, taking up one strand of Ellis’s thinking, normalized and universalized it as a situational behavior characteristic of feminine adolescence,
in addition to commentators who reflected Freud’s influence in constructing youthful d?seiai as a necessary stage in young women’s psychosexual development toward heterosexual adulthood. Constructions of the schoolgirl
same-sex lover produced her, at different times, on the model of both gender
transitivity and gender separatism, and feminist commentators and sexologists alike were divided on the possible benefits and dangers of same-sex love
among schoolgirls.21 Yet despite this cacophony of competing constructions,
which in part reflected the incoherencies intrinsic to the European sexological discourse itself, Pflugfelder observes a marked tendency among early
Japanese commentators on schoolgirl d?seiai to presume as foundational the
contemporaneous gender ideology, derived both from European sexology
and popular Japanese gender typologies, that women were emotionally more
sensitive yet sexually less desiring than men. Hence, d?seiai among schoolgirls tended to be constructed in a comparatively idealizing mode as more
sentimental or spiritual (seishinteki) and less carnal or sexual (nikutaiteki) than
d?seiai among schoolboys.22
The connection that was forged in the Japanese discourse between the
two novel concepts of sh?jo and d?seiai clearly appears to have been translated
into the Republican Chinese context soon after its emergence in Japan, with
Chinese discussions of tongxing’ai heavily indebted to the earlier Japanese debates, especially in their sharp focus on tongxing’ai among adolescent girls
(shaonü) in modern-style educational institutions.23 Direct Chinese translations of European sexological texts were made in the 1920s and 1930s, but
this period also saw an intensive transculturation of the emergent modern
Japanese sex discourse.24 The Japanese influence took effect through actual
Chinese translations of Japanese articles about d?seiai between schoolgirls;
through Chinese authors’ discussions of the Japanese “fashion” for such relationships; and, more broadly, through the high level of general familiarity
that the Chinese authors showed with contemporary Japanese sexology.25
Sang’s research shows that like the Japanese discussions of schoolgirl d?seiai,
the Chinese debates over tongxing’ai in girls’ schools demonstrated a wide
range of competing constructions of the phenomenon, including not just
minoritizing accounts but also universalizing ones.26 Directly evidencing
the Japanese influence, in 1925 the intellectual women’s magazine Funü zazhi
published a Chinese translation of the well-known Japanese feminist edu34
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cator Furuya Toyoko’s influential 1922 article praising the pedagogical value
of same-sex love in girls’ schools, “The New Meaning of Same-Sex Love in
Women’s Education.”27 Pflugfelder observes that in the Japanese context,
“Furuya’s essay captures a historical moment when the concept of ‘same-sex
love’ could still convey a remarkably positive meaning in the realm of public
discourse,” and he proposes that the essay implies an alternative—ultimately
unrealized—vision of Japanese sexual modernity in which same-sex love
among women would have an integral and valued role.28 The translation of
this article marks one concrete instance of the importation into China of the
universalizing and idealizing Japanese discourse on love between schoolgirls.
And given the remarkable longevity of the elegiac narrative of love between
adolescent girls in modern Chinese literary and popular cultures, it is worth
considering whether the alternative vision of sexual modernity that Pflugfelder discerns in Furuya’s idealization of universalized same-sex love between schoolgirls may perhaps survive as one component of Chinese sexual
epistemologies today. It is this possibility that the following chapters set out
to explore.
In the context of the double transculturation of European sexology
via Japan to China, Sang examines the emergence of a distinct modernvernacular Chinese literary phenomenon in the 1920s and 1930s that she calls
the “women’s homoerotic school romance.”29 Through her analysis of works
by elite, modernist women writers—including Lu Yin, Ling Shuhua, and Ding
Ling—Sang traces the historical foundations of an influential modern Chinese literary discourse on homoerotic friendships between young women in
modern schools and colleges. In the light of the marked Japanese influence
in Republican Chinese discussions of tongxing’ai, it is worth underlining that
the Chinese literary form of the women’s homoerotic school romance is
undergirded by the history of early-twentieth-century cultural flows between
China and Japan. This is most especially the case in the Chinese reproduction
of the conceptual linkage between the novel categories of adolescent girls
(sh?jo/shaonü) and homosexuality (d?seiai/tongxing’ai); both of these terms and
the categories they designate—and, as we will see, the conceptual linkage
between them—have persisted into early-twenty-first-century Chinese language and culture. The connection is also revealed in the Chinese reiteration
of the idealizing tendency in Japanese female d?seiai discourse, a tendency that
drew on the contemporan…
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