Digitized Engagements: Feminist and Queer Media Activism in China  

2015-17 Principal Investigator, Early Career Scheme, Research Grants Committee, “Digitized Engagements: Feminist and   Queer Media Activism in China” (Award Year: 2015/16, project number: 22607115), HKD324,080 (USD41,590), 01/09/2015-30/11/2017.

In the last decade, aided by the development of communication technologies, feminist and queer media activists in China have been using a variety forms such as documentary workshops, online campaigns, webcasts, webzines and so on to promote sexual and gender diversity. In this process, digital technology has played an unprecedented role in assembling nvquan (feminist) or kuer (queer) discourses and practices in community building, public education and advocacy. Despite the significant growth of feminist and queer media practices in China for more than ten years, not much has been written about this subject. The explanation for such under-exploration is twofold. On one hand, while many studies explore how digital technology has influenced the production, circulation, and consumption of feminist and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) media in the American, European and other Asian contexts, the research on feminist and queer media in China is disproportionally small. On the other hand, although research on communication technologies in China, particularly Internet activism, has flourished considerably, the issues of gender and sexuality remain marginalized. Intersecting feminist and queer media studies and studies on communication technologies in China, this project aims to examine how digital technology informs the development of feminist and queer activism in China, and, at the same time, how alternative media practices attuned to gender and sexuality issues can shed light on feminist practices and the queering of digital technology. Drawing from semi-structured interviews with various feminist and queer media practitioners, analysis of key events and media productions, participatory observation, as well as documents from relevant organizations, this project will analyze the convergence of digital media and feminist and queer activism in China. Ultimately, the project will generate a scholarly understanding of how digital technology informs the development of feminist and queer activism in China. It will also make available a bilingual online database for archiving feminist and queer media activism, providing useful information for the general public in China and Hong Kong.