Undercurrents engages the critical rubric of “queer” to examine Hong Kong’s screen and media culture during the transitional and immediate postcolonial period. Helen Hok-Sze Leung draws on theoretical insights from a range of disciplines to reveal parallels between the crisis and uncertainty of the territory’s postcolonial transition and the queer aspects of its cultural productions. She explores Hong Kong cultural productions – cinema, fiction, popular music, and subcultural projects – and argues that while there is no overt consolidation of gay and lesbian identities in Hong Kong culture, undercurrents of diverse and complex expressions of gender and sexual variance are widely in evidence. Undercurrents uncovers a queer media culture that has been largely overlooked by critics in the West and demonstrates the cultural vitality of Hong Kong amidst political transition.
About the author
Helen Hok-Sze Leung is an Associate Professor in Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC, Canada. She has published widely on queer cinema and is the author of Undercurrents: Queer Culture and Postcolonial Hong Kong (UBC Press, 2008).
There is nothing quite like Undercurrents currently available in the English language. Its archive – Hong Kong cultural productions including contemporary cinema, architecture, urban space, modern literature, icons from popular culture, and community-driven radio programming – is impressively wide-ranging and diverse. Its theoretical apparatus – bringing together queer theory and postcolonial studies – is equally remarkable. This is a beautifully conceived, crafted, and compelling book.
David Eng, author of <EM>Racial Castration: Managing Masculinity in Asian America</EM>
This lucid and original book is the first dealing with queer cinema and queer culture in Hong Kong. By eschewing the conventional – and foreign – ideas of gay and lesbian identity for a more protean range of possibilities under the rubric of “queer,” Helen Hok-Sze Leung shows that Hong Kong’s screen culture includes a much richer and deeper queer vein than many observers have supposed.
Chris Berry, co-author of <EM>China on Screen: Cinema and Nation</EM>