John B. Weinstein
Simon’s Rock College of Bard
MWF 11:30-12:30, Classroom 3
W 6:30-8:45, Lecture Center
Gender Studies 218m1 CP Fall 2004

Course Description

Queer culture in East Asia exists at the crossroads of tradition and modernity, and East and West. Both China and Japan have long historical and textual traditions of male homosexuality, traditions sometimes embraced and sometimes rejected by today’s East Asian gay communities. This course examines films, novels, and popular culture, together with historical studies and primary documents, as a means toward understanding the homosexual traditions of both the past and the present. Though the traditional materials are focused on male homosexuality, the course will also examine the role of both lesbians and straight women in the formation of queer identities in contemporary East Asia. This course assumes no previous background in Asian culture.



This course requires both oral and written analyses of the materials presented. The daily discussions are a key component. Often, written journal prompts will be assigned prior to class discussion. You should be prepared to read your responses when called upon to do so. They will also be used as pre-writing for the two analytical papers and film review. There will also be opportunities to give more formal presentations, both in class and as part of a public film series.

Participation—You are expected to participate vigorously and vocally. If you feel shy about jumping into the discussion, you will need to find ways to be brave. It is essential to come to all class sessions; absences beyond max cut (3 class sessions) will result in participation grades of zero for the day.

Films—You are expected to attend all Wednesday film screenings. If for some reason you must miss a film screening, you are expected to view the film prior to the Friday class and, at the beginning of that class, submit a 2-3 page response to the film. You may not simply choose to write your way out of the film screenings, as viewing the films, as a group, is an integral part of the course.

Papers—Papers will receive deductions for lateness, generally at the rate of 2 percent per day. Make sure to cite all of your sources properly; failure to give proper credit, whether intentional or accidental, constitutes plagiarism. Plagiarism will be penalized in accordance with college policies.


Breakdown of Evaluation Components

25% Class Participation

20% Handwritten response journal (both in-class and homework)

10% Shorter paper (2-3 pages)

10% Film review (2-3 pages)

30% Longer paper (6-7 pages)

5% Group presentations


Reading and Viewing

Required Texts

Bret Hinsch, Passions of the Cut Sleeve: The Male Homosexual Tradition in China

Ihara Saikaku, The Great Mirror of Male Love

Pai Hsien-yung, Crystal Boys

Chu T’ien-wen, Notes of a Desolate Man

Fran Martin, ed., Angelwings: Contemporary Queer Fiction from Taiwan


Ang Lee, The Wedding Banquet

Chen Kaige, Farewell, My Concubine

Huang Yushan, Twin Bracelets

Zhang Yuan, East Palace, West Palace

Nakajima Takehiro, Okoge

Nagisa Oshima, Gohatto (Taboo)

Tsai Ming-liang, Vive L’Amour

In addition, there will be several texts on e-reserve



August 23
Ihara Saikaku, The Great Mirror of Male Love, 51-56 (handout)
Takahashi Matsuo, “The Rose Lover,” “The Rose Tree,” and “Sleeping Wrestler” (handout)

August 25
Bret Hinsch, Passions of the Cut Sleeve, 1-14
Lin Yuyi, “The Boy in The Pink Orchid Tree,” in Angelwings, 127-153
Mishima Yukio, “Onnagata” (handout)
Film Screening: Chen Kaige, Farewell, My Concubine

August 27
Bret Hinsch, Passions of the Cut Sleeve, 15-54

August 30
Bret Hinsch, Passions of the Cut Sleeve, chapter for group presentation plus 173-178
September 1 Ihara Saikaku, The Great Mirror of Male Love, 1-34, 42-46, 49-123
Film Screening: Nagisa Oshima, Gohatto (Taboo)

September 3
Ihara Saikaku, The Great Mirror of Male Love, 125-188

September 6
Ihara Saikaku, The Great Mirror of Male Love, 34-42, 189-246

September 8
Ihara Saikaku, The Great Mirror of Male Love, 247-310
Film Screening: Ang Lee, The Wedding Banquet

September 10
Hsu Yoshen, “Stones on the Shore”
Shorter Paper due by 5pm

September 13
Pai Hsien-yung, Crystal Boys, 11-191

September 15
Pai Hsien-yung, Crystal Boys, 193-328
Film Screening: Huang Yushan, Twin Bracelets

September 17
Qiu Miaojin, “Platonic Hair,” in Angelwings, 51-73
Chen Xue, “Searching for the Lost Wings of the Angel,” in Angelwings, 167-187

September 20
Li Yu, “A Male Mencius’s Mother Raises Her Son Properly By Moving House Three Times” (e-reserve)
Wu Jiwen, “Rose is the Past Tense of Rise,” in Angelwings, 221-245

September 22
Minakata Kumagusu & Iwata Jun’ichi, Morning Fog (e-reserve)
Barbara Summerhawk, Chiron McMahill & Darren McDonald, eds., “The Story of Women Who Love Women in Japan—A Survey of Japanese Lesbians” (e-reserve)
Film Screening: Tsai Mingliang, Vive L’Amour

September 24
Scott Simon, “From Hidden Community to Rainbow Kingdom: The Making of Gay and Lesbian Identity in Taiwan” (e-reserve)
Fran Martin, “Introduction: Taiwan’s Literature of Transgressive Sexuality,” in Angelwings, 1-28
Bret Hinsch, Passions of the Cut Sleeve, 162-171
Various ephemera on tongzhi movement (in class)

September 27
Chu T’ien-wen, Notes of a Desolate Man, 1-110

September 29
Chu T’ien-wen, Notes of a Desolate Man, 111-166
Film Screening: Nakajima Takehiro, Okoge

October 1
Chu T’ien-wen, “Bodhisattva Incarnate,” in Angelwings, 29-49
Chu T’ien-hsin, “A Story of Spring Butterflies,” in Angelwings, 75-93
Film Review due by 5pm

October 4
Role-Playing Debate, Day 1
Individually assigned selection from Queer Japan (hard reserve)

October 6
Role-Playing Debate, Day 2
Film Screening: Zhang Yuan, East Palace, West Palace

October 8
Chi Tawei, “A Stranger’s ID,” in Angelwings, 213-220

Longer Paper due by 5pm