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Beyond the Discourse of Sexualization

An Inquiry into the Adultification of Tween Girls’ Dressing in Singapore

Bernice Loh

In order to explore the adultification of tween girls in Singapore through the way they dress, I begin this article by taking stock of the arguments in the discourse of sexualization. In further elucidating the cultural specificities of girlhood, I point out how tween girls’ fashioning of themselves after adults in Singapore presents some challenges to the ways that the adultification of tween girls’ dressing has been commonly theorized. I show that although the adultification of tween girls’ dressing forms a large part of the debate in the discourse of sexualization, tween girls’ fashioning of themselves after adults should not be assumed to be an exclusive outcome and process of improper and premature sexualization in culturally-specific contexts like Singapore. This article, therefore, explores a different way of thinking about tween girls who are dressing up in more adult-like ways, and suggests the need to be careful about extrapolating from arguments made in the (Western) discourse of sexualisation about this phenomenon.

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Editorial

Comics and Transnational Exchanges

The title of our journal implies there is such a thing as European comic art, even if in practice it is intended to indicate we focus on work produced (outside the United States) in European languages, leaving the fields of South East Asian and US comics to other publications in the discipline. However, European comics clearly have not developed in isolation from other comics traditions: from the earliest days, they have both impacted and absorbed influences from elsewhere: to cite an obvious example, Rudolph Dirks’s Katzenjammer Kids was modelled on Wilhelm Busch’s Max und Moritz, and both have served as templates for generations of mischievous children from Alain Saint-Ogan’s Zig et Puce, through Dennis the Menace, in both US and UK incarnations.

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Introduction

Beyond Orientalism; Texting the Victorian East

Julia Kuehn and Tamara S. Wagner

Thirty years after its publication in 1978, a reconsideration of Edward Said’s Orientalism invites a shift from contextual and colonial discourse analysis towards a renewed attention to ambiguities of form and structure. The central point of interest of this special issue, ‘Re-Imagining the Victorian Orient’, hinges upon close readings of canonical and noncanonical texts, side by side, in order to highlight the complexities of Victorian literary culture that earlier readings often threatened to deny. The analyses comprise discussions of travel writing as well as of fiction from the 1830s up to the 1920s, covering what is commonly considered the height of imperialism. What brings the essays in this special issue together is the project of opening up the question of the Victorian Orient as a concept and a literary topos, based upon, but also beyond the critical tenets of Orientalism. While this project is rooted in literary history and the history of representation, its main emphasis firmly rests on a ‘texting’ of the Victorian East: an emphasis on genre, aesthetics, and structural metaphors. This collection is held together by the places it foregrounds as much as by this critical redirection towards textual analysis. Divided into two parts, it reads women’s travelogues covering the Middle East, South, and South East Asia, comparing and contrasting them with the ‘notorious’ colonial novels of Dickens, Conrad, Kipling, and Forster.