Masterclass 2

Michelle Ho

Assistant Professor of Feminist and Queer Cultural Studies in the Department of Communications and New Media (CNM), National University of Singapore (NUS)

Gender and Sexuality Studies in Pandemic Times: Some Considerations for Doing Research in Asia

17 December 2021, 5:00 – 7:00 pm (Philippine Standard Time)

Recorded Session

Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended nearly every aspect of our lives, including our work, school, health, and relationships with other people. Research is no exception. As scholars living in a pandemic, how can we do research on gender and sexuality in Asian contexts? 

Granted, this is not a new question as Asia-based scholars have long asked how to do gender and sexuality research. Gender and sexuality studies is often criticized as a “Western” import and thus alienated from “Asian” perspectives and inapplicable to “Asian culture.” But what does this mean for us as Asia-based scholars whose lived realities and research interests are embedded in issues of gender and sexuality? What methodologies might we draw on, does it matter which approaches we use, and how are they now impacted by pandemic restrictions? 

At the same time, as scholars researching gender and sexuality in Asian contexts, we also grapple with the EuroAmerican-centrism of queer and feminist knowledge production, in which theories are produced from the West but not from Asia whereas the experiences of people in Asia are either largely absent or treated as “objects” of study. What can we do to challenge this unequal production of knowledges? How can Asia-based scholars continue to theorize gender and sexuality in pandemic times?

Finally, in what ways do we merge our scholarly practices with pedagogy and positionality? Practicing gender and sexuality studies in Asia means being invested in how diverse ways of knowing and doing empower us to make sense of our personal experiences. As instructors, we also reflect on our teaching of queer and feminist theories and methods, particularly how we continue to adapt our courses to an online or hybrid classroom. These are some complex issues and questions we will attempt to tackle in this session.

To participate in this masterclass

You are strongly encouraged to do the following background readings before you come to the session:

Roces, Mina. 2010. “Asian Feminisms: Women’s Movements from the Asian Perspective.” In Women’s Movements in Asia: Feminisms and transnational activism, edited by Mina Roces and Louise Edwards, 1-20. New York, NY: Routledge.

Chiang, Howard, and Alvin K. Wong. 2017. “Asia is burning: Queer Asia as critique.”  Culture, Theory and Critique 58 (2):121-126.


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Michelle H. S. Ho (pronouns: she, her) is an Assistant Professor of Feminist and Queer Cultural Studies in the Department of Communications and New Media (CNM) at the National University of Singapore (NUS). She holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies and Advanced Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from Stony Brook University (SUNY) and has held visiting positions at NUS, MIT, and the University of Tokyo, the latter of which was as a Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Fellow (2016-2017). At NUS, she is on the steering committee of the Gender and Sexuality Research Cluster (GSRC), an initiative supported by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) Research Division that critically engages with the complexities of gender/sexuality in Asia. 

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