Contemporary Asian Masculinities in Literature and Film

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Languages Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

The convergence of critical masculinity studies with postcolonial theory aims to interrogate discourses that created hegemonic and binary categories that in turn became eventual grounds for the historical racialization of gender and sexuality, as well as the gendering and sexualization of race. Following palimpsestic models of narrativization, this session seeks to problematize the layerings and shifting stratigraphies of power that obscure, erase, or overwrite the specific experiences that underpin notions of Asian masculinity and male identity as represented in various forms of literature and media. In light of how analogical frameworks (Todd Reeser) of racialized masculinity have set up Asian male subjectivities as historically feminized or emasculated in comparison to their hegemonic white counterparts, this session seeks theoretical interventions and critical reflections that interrogate, challenge, or reconfigure white settler masculinity ideals and “soft” masculinity narratives. Of special interest are presentations that contend with the continual reinscription and resemanticization of previously held ideas, assumptions, and frameworks about what it means to be both “Asian” and “man” within systems that emblematize paradigmatic power shifts brought on by historical waves of diaspora, transnationalism, and globalization. Other possible discussion points include:

1) cultural and/or artistic representations of the intersectionality of Asian masculinity, i.e., as both marginalized and privileged;

2) comparative analyses of Asian and non-Asian masculinity ideals and representations;

3) Asian manhood in the time of the #MeToo movement

4) gay, trans, and queer Asian masculinities; “fat, femme, and Asian”

5) pre- and postcolonial Asian masculinities;

6) countercanonical readings of “classic” narratives around Asian masculinity or men

Please submit proposals of 250 to 300 words, with a bio of at most 100 words, on how you intend to address one or more of the talking points above. All proposals must be submitted by September 30, 2023 through the NeMLA portal:

NeMLA's 55th Annual Convention will be held in-person in Boston, MA on March 7-10, 2024.

For inquiries, you may contact Christian Ylagan at