Brown Boys and Rice Queens: Spellbinding Performance in the Asias
MAR 21, 2014 | 7:00 PM TO 9:00 PM
The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
March 21, 2014: 7:00 PM-9:00 PM
A transnational study of Asian performance shaped by the homoerotics of orientalism, Brown Boys and Rice Queens focuses on the relationship between the white man and the native boy. Eng-Beng Lim unpacks this as the central trope for understanding colonial and cultural encounters in 20th and 21st century Asia and its diaspora. Using the native boy as a critical guide, Lim formulates alternative readings of a traditional Balinese ritual, postcolonial Anglophone theatre in Singapore, and performance art in Asian America. Tracing the transnational formation of the native boy as racial fetish object across the last century, Lim follows this figure as he is passed from the hands of the colonial empire to the postcolonial nation-state to neoliberal globalization. Read through such figurations, the traffic in native boys among white men serves as an allegory of an infantilized and emasculated Asia, subordinate before colonial whiteness and modernity. Pushing further, Lim addresses the critical paradox of this entrenched relationship that resides even within queer theory itself by formulating critical interventions around "Asian performance."
Eng-Beng Lim is Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University, and a faculty affiliate of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Department of East Asian Studies, and Department of American Studies. He is also a Gender and Sexuality Studies board member at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women.