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The Australian National University

The Auditorium, Australian Centre on China In the World

12.30–2.30pm, Monday 14 December 2015

cover-story_02_02xThis lecture, a part of the Taiwan Lecture on Chinese Studies series, explores how male same-sex attractions are depicted in Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Dream of the Red Chamber, two of the most important novels in late imperial China. The characters in these very different novels represent diametrically opposed ideals of manhood in traditional China. Professor Louie will examine these representations by focusing on the homo-sociality of Guan Yu and Bao Yu, the protagonists of these novels, and draw out the class implications of their behaviour.

The first half of the paper rehearses the previously published thesis that Guan Yu’s homosexuality is repressed although homo-sociality is the major theme of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Because of Guan Yu’s wu 武 credentials, the repression of his homosexuality is a necessary one, as sex becomes a fundamental test to show a (working class) man’s self-control. By contrast, coming from an aristocratic class, Bao Yu’s homo-sociality, indeed homosexuality, can be less restrained. The lecture concludes that these depictions are not accidental: they function as vehicles to ensure that in intimate relationships, class boundaries are not crossed.

About the Speaker:
Kam Louie was Dean of the Faculty Arts and MB Lee Professor of Humanities and Medicine at The University of Hong Kong until his retirement in 2014. He is currently the Adjunct Professor in the School of Humanities and Languages at The University of New South Wales and Honorary Professor in School of Chinese, University of Hong Kong. His diverse research interests cover interdisciplinary studies of language, literature, history, and philosophy in modern China. His sole authored publications include: Theorising Chinese Masculinity (Cambridge UP 2002), Inheriting Tradition: Interpretations of the Classical Philosophers in Communist China (Oxford UP 1986). He also has a number of edited volumes such as Cambridge Companion to Modern Chinese Culture (Cambridge UP 2009).

Professor Louie was a research fellow at the Center for Chinese Studies, Taipei. He has taught at a number of universities in Australasia and has also served as Chair Professor of Chinese Studies at The University of Queensland and the Australian National University. He was a member of the Australia-China Council and Chief Editor of Asian Studies Review. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, he was also elected President of The Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities at its inauguration in 2011.

Presented by the ANU Library, the Center for Chinese Studies Taiwan, R.O.C., and the National Central Library Taiwan, R.O.C. as part of the Taiwan Lectures on Chinese Studies series.

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by: Sally Haysom

Updated: 14 December 2015/ Responsible Officer: University Librarian / Page Contact: Library Systems & Web Coordinator