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The Men and the Boys, Twenty Years On

Revisiting Raewyn Connell's Pivotal Text

Victoria Cann, Sebastián Madrid, Kopano Ratele, Anna Tarrant, Michael R.M. Ward, and Raewyn Connell

It is twenty years since the publication of Raewyn Connell's highly influential text The Men and the Boys. This book, building on feminist and pro-feminist perspectives of gender formation, was written over a ten-year period from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. It was published five years after the release of the groundbreaking text Masculinities (1995) and tackled multiple issues concerning boys and men. While providing an important platform and summary of where the research from the social science and humanities on men and masculinities stood in the year 2000, the book also contained a theoretical framework for understanding men and masculinities as part of gender relations. Importantly, the future direction of the field was outlined, and suggestions were made as to likely future agendas. These subjects included investigating the implications of globalization and its different characteristics on gender formation, the role of men's bodies, the impact of the media and culture in men's lives, sexuality, education, health, politics, change, violence, and peace. In recent years, questions about the lives and experiences of men and boys continue to raise remarkable media interest, public concern, and controversy on a global scale. Global changes in practices of knowledge have ensured that across the humanities and social sciences, research in the field of masculinities (of all ages) has continued to flourish and expand.

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The New Imitation Game

The Queer Sinitic Potentialities of Internet Romance Games

Carlos Rojas

Abstract

Taking as its starting point the “original” variant of Alan Turing's famous “imitation game” (in which a test subject attempts to differentiate, based purely on textual output, between a man and a woman), this article considers the ways in which gender and sexuality are simulated in the contemporary genre of virtual romance or dating video games. The article focuses on three Sinitic games, each of which strategically queers this predominantly heteronormative genre. In queering desire, moreover, these Sinitic games simultaneously suggest ways in which Chinese society itself may also be strategically queered.

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On Sinofuturism

Resisting Techno-Orientalism in Understanding Kuaishou, Douyin, and Chinese A.I.

Yunying Huang

Abstract

Dominant design narratives about “the future” contain many contemporary manifestations of “orientalism” and Anti-Chineseness. In US discourse, Chinese people are often characterized as a single communist mass and the primary market for which this future is designed. By investigating the construction of modern Chinese pop culture in Chinese internet and artificial intelligence, and discussing different cultural expressions across urban, rural, and queer Chinese settings, I challenge external Eurocentric and orientalist perceptions of techno-culture in China, positing instead a view of Sinofuturism centered within contemporary Chinese contexts.

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Cinthia Torres Toledo and Marília Pinto de Carvalho

Abstract

Black working-class boys are the group with the most significant difficulties in their schooling process. In dialogue with Raewyn Connell, we seek to analyze how the collective conceptions of peer groups have influenced the school engagement of Brazilian boys. We conducted an ethnographic research with students around the age of 14 at an urban state school in the periphery of the city of São Paulo. We analyzed the hierarchization process between two groups of boys, demonstrating the existence of a collective notion of masculinity that works against engagement with the school. Well-known to the Anglophone academic literature, this association is rather uncommon in the Brazilian literature. We have therefore attempted to describe and analyze here the challenges faced by Black working-class Brazilian boys to establish more positive educational trajectories.

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Meghan Bellerose, Maryama Diaw, Jessie Pinchoff, Beth Kangwana, and Karen Austrian

Abstract

COVID-19 containment measures have left adolescent girls in Nairobi, Kenya vulnerable to negative educational, economic, and secondary health outcomes that threaten their safe transitions into adulthood. In June 2020, the Population Council conducted phone-based surveys with 856 girls aged between 10 and 19 in 5 informal settlements who had been surveyed prior to COVID-19 as part of five longitudinal studies. We performed bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses to assess the relationship between COVID-19 outcomes and potential protective or risk factors. We found that younger girls are experiencing high levels of food insecurity and difficulty learning from home during school closures, while many older girls face the immediate risk of dropping out of school permanently and have been forgoing needed health services.

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Queer Sinofuturism

The Aberrant Movements and Posthumanist Mutations of Body, Identity, and Matter in Lu Yang's Uterus Man

Gabriel Remy-Handfield

Abstract

In this article, I consider posthumanist and techno-scientific aesthetics in Lu Yang's short film Uterus Man (2013), a film in which a male superhero is interrogating the capacities of a body to mutate, affect, and to be affected. Profoundly influenced by Japanese popular cultural forms such as manga and anime, the artist also draws on sources ranging from Buddhism to developments in neuroscience and biology. I will use the work of post-Deleuzian thinkers Luciana Parisi and David Lapoujade to investigate how the different transformations of the body shown in Uterus Man chart the unpredictable capacity for bodies and matter to mutate in contemporary techno-aesthetic landscapes. In its ambiguity, can Uterus Man contribute to the emergence of a queer Sinofuturism? And what kind of future does the perverse superhero of Uterus Man represent?

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Robert Morrell

Abstract

The study of masculinity in South Africa scarcely existed in 1990. A minor interest in gender was focused on women and inequality. South Africa was emerging from four decades of apartheid. It was into this environment that Raewyn Connell's ideas were introduced, adopted and adapted. Raewyn herself made a number of trips to South Africa in the 1990s and 2000s and found a ready reception for her theories about masculinity. South Africa was in transition feeling its way from white minority rule and authoritarianism toward democracy and a commitment to ending poverty, inequality, racism, and the oppression of women. In this article, I describe how Raewyn's idea energized scholarship, created a new research interest in men and masculinity, and contributed to gender activism.

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Tru Leverette and Barbara Mennel

Zélie Asava. Mixed Race Cinemas: Multiracial Dynamics in America and France (New York Bloomsbury, 2017). 216 pp., ISBN: 1501312456 (paperback: $35.96)

Elizabeth Otto and Patrick Rössler, eds. Bauhaus Bodies: Gender, Sexuality, and Body Culture in Modernism's Legendary Art School (New York: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2019). xl +345 pp., ISBN: 9781501344787 (hardback, $110), (paperback, $29.95)

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Olga Zdravomyslova and Elena Onegina

Abstract

In this article we analyse ten structured interviews with girls aged 15 to 19 from Moscow and St. Petersburg. We look at how the girls are dealing with the fundamentally new and dangerous situation created by the coronavirus pandemic and note that they are looking for a social and psychological space for themselves in which they can create and experience stability and safety. They are more concerned about security than ever before, while being, at the same time, very sensitive to restrictions on their freedom and agency. Girls’ clear desire for privacy, fuelled by the pandemic's increasingly rapid invasion of their digital space, reinforces their urge towards agency and their understanding of freedom as autonomy.

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Sade for Sade's Sake

Inside Paul Chan's Transmedial Laboratory

Olivier Delers

Abstract

This article focuses on Paul Chan's 2007 art project Sade for Sade's Sake, which brings together a five-hour-long video installation, a number of drawings and collages, and a series of fonts inspired by the Marquis de Sade's writings called “alternumerics.” I argue that Chan is engaged in a transmedial process that is intensely visual and performative and that actualizes Sade's aesthetics by reconfiguring the textual logorrhea central to his writing style. In his video installation, Chan imagines a new kind of sexual tableau that seeks to “show it all,” but also turns the larger political statement that his project set out to make into an abstract exploration of forms. In Sade for Sade's Sake, Chan suggests that Sade is caught in a transmedial loop. Sade's writings are channeled into different types of visual media that try to convey the nature of his worldview and to capture its essence. In the end, however, images make way for a new kind of Sadean language that is based on the original texts but that also tends toward abstraction and the endless repetition of the same patterns.