CFP: Queer and Femme Gazes in AfroAsian Visual Culture (edited volume)

deadline for submissions: 
July 9, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Rebecca Kumar and Seulghee Lee

CFP: Queer and Femme Gazes in AfroAsian Visual Culture (edited volume)

 Rebecca Kumar and Seulghee Lee, eds.

 We are seeking submissions for a collection of essays tentatively titled, Queer and Femme Gazes in AfroAsian Visual Culture, under consideration with Palgrave Macmillan. Inspired by recent work that aims to queer the Ethnic Studies subfield of AfroAsian Studies – such as Vanita Reddy and Anantha Sudhakar’s special issue of The Scholar & Feminist Online, “Feminist and Queer Afro-Asian Formations” (2018) – this volume attends to emerging queer-of-color representations and cinematic critiques that offer novel ways of seeing the bonds between Black and Asian people beyond masculinist and heterosexist gazes. 

 This collection takes up Vijay Prashad’s longstanding charge to resist the typical comparative-racial discourse that pits people of color against each other in order to further institutionalize whiteness. Following such foundational work in AfroAsian Studies, this collection seeks to examine the cultural and political interactions between Blacks and Asians, specifically highlighting the ways they have worked together to achieve political change. Following Reddy and Sudhakar, Queer and Femme Gazes resists reproducing scholarship that focuses on “straight men as political and historical actors in the construction of Afro-Asian solidarities.” As they point out, much of the scholarship in the field has “inadvertently upheld a limited model of cross-racial brotherhood” at the expense of queer and femme models. In recent years, as Asian Americans in particular have gained more visibility onscreen, it has become clear that masculinist and cis-heterosexual imaginings limit what Roseann Liu and Savannah Shange have called “thick solidarity” or what Martin Joseph Ponce calls “Queer Afro-Asian Anti-Imperialism.

 The editors of Queer and Femme Gazes in AfroAsian Visual Culture seek essays (6000-7000 words) that offer new critical perspectives on representations of AfroAsian relationships in film, television, and emerging media. We also seek fresh essays that queer seemingly straight, male, and cishet representations and gazes in martial arts films, the Vietnam War film, and lesbian/trans pornography. Ultimately, the collection thinks aboutAfroAsian visual culture, considering cross-racial intimacies based on desire, performance, pleasure, affect, racial ontology, and sexual ecstasy. 

 Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Trans* considerations, i.e. Danielle Lessovitz’s Port Authority (2019), RuPaul’s Drag  Race, Alok Menon’s feature in Random Acts of Flyness (2020)
  • AfroAsian monstrosities, i.e. Lovecraft Country (2020), King Kong vs. Godzilla (2021)
  • AfroAsian solidarities during the heightened vulnerability to anti-Asian violence during the pandemic (2020-2021)
  • Competition and/as/against homoeroticism. i.e. Kung Fu and Blaxploitation films, HBO’s The Watchmen (2019) 
  • (Queer) animation/anthropomorphism, i.e. The Boondocks, Tuca and Bertie 
  • Queering appropriation/appropriation as desire, i.e. hip-hop and K-pop’s visuality  
  • Queering the “buddy,” “sidekick,” or “bromance” films, i.e. Rush Hour (1998), the Harold and Kumar trilogy
  • Queering the Vietnam War Film 
  • Black and Asian asexualities on screen 
  • Black and Asian sisterhoods on screen, i.e. Mountains that Take Wing (2010)
  • Black and Asian Gay, Lesbian, Trans Pornography 
  • Black and Asian Cinema in Britain, political possibilities and tensions in race, sexuality, and gender
  • Zoe Hsu’s recastings - or other AfroAsian queer fan art
  • Performance and videography from Suzanne C. Persard’s “queer x indentured” series 
  • The work of Michelle Mohabeer - and her influence on other queer Caribbean filmmakers
  • Films and videography from South Africa’s “Kutti Collective”
  • Black and Asian gazes on each other that consider how the racial and ethnic categories are constituted against the gender binary and/or heterosexuality 
  • Black and Asian as cross or collapsed racial categories onscreen 

Please send queries and/or an abstract (250-500 words) to Seulghee Lee (seulghee@mailbox.sc.edu) and Rebecca Kumar (rebecca.kumar@spelman.edu) by July 9, 2021.