Family Matters: Chinese Queer Politics Around the Rise of a Family-State

Visiting Scholar Talks

Feb 13, 2023 | 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Common Room (#136), 2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA,


Wei Wei | Professor of Sociology, East China Normal University; HYI Visiting Scholar, 2022-23


Michael Bronski | Professor of the Practice in Media and Activism in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University

Seating is limited. Masks are required for all in-person audience members.

Co-sponsored with the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

LGBT activism in mainland China, based on the trajectory of identity politics, faces increasing challenges from the state in recent years. Drawing insights from the scholarship of provincializing sexual citizenship and building on my decades-long researches into Chinese LGBT communities and activism, the study situates such challenges and responses of the LGBT communities in the changing social and geopolitical context of a rising China. It first lays out the ascendance of the state-driven familist discourses, mostly around the Confucian notion of “family state”.  The reconfiguration of Chinese queer politics by engaging the Chinese family-state will be the focus of the talk. On the one hand, the increasing regulation from the state further marginalizes the civic participation and mobilization around LGBT identity-politics. On the other hand, the newly emerging LGBT parent families utilize the opportunities of policy change to strive for the state’s recognition. The talk concludes with a discussion of Chinese homonationalism in the making, which may also have implication for queer politics beyond China.