News & Events

EVENT - April 13, 2022 - Departments of History and Sociology present "Transtopia in the Sinophone Pacific" with Howard Chiang, Ph.D.

April 5, 2022

Transtopia in the Sinophone Pacific


Date: Wednesday, Apr 13, 2022

Start time: 4:00 p.m.

Location: Temple building, room 1165

Audience: This lecture is free and open to the public.

This event is in person, with an option to join via Zoom. 

As a broad category of identity, “transgender” has given life to a vibrant field of academic research since the 1990s. Yet the Western origins of the field have tended to limit its cross-cultural scope. Howard Chiang proposes a new paradigm for doing transgender history in which geopolitics assumes central importance. Defined as the antidote to transphobia, transtopia challenges a minoritarian view of transgender experience and makes room for the variability of transness on a historical continuum.

Against the backdrop of the Sinophone Pacific, Chiang argues that the concept of transgender identity must be rethought beyond a purely Western frame. At the same time, he challenges China-centrism in the study of East Asian gender and sexual configurations. Chiang brings Sinophone studies to bear on trans theory to deconstruct the ways in which sexual normativity and Chinese imperialism have been produced through one another. This talk highlights the urgency of interdisciplinary knowledge in debates over the promise and future of human diversity.


Howard Chiang is associate professor of history at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of After Eunuchs: Science, Medicine, and the Transformation of Sex in Modern China (Columbia, 2018) and editor in chief of The Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History (2019).

Sponsor(s): History Department and Sociology Department

Event contact: Melanie Barnes,

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