ASIAN 498C/CMS 497A: From Korea to Taiwan: Queer Asian Cinema


Ungsan Kim

Course Description

How do we define queer cinema? How does this term depart from more conventional and intuitive ways of naming the cinematic modality, such as LGBT cinema or women’s cinema? And to what extent does the national, cultural, and historical specificity affect our understanding of queer cinema? And most importantly, how can we decolonize the studies of queer cinema that uncritically and unfairly situates the Euro-American traditions as the center or archtypes of modern queer cinema in the world? Throughout the term, we will grapple with these questions by viewing, analyzing, and critically engaging with queer Asian cinema.

We will approach queer Asian cinema with two different angles: The representation and politics of queers on screen and what can be termed queer cinematic aesthetics. From queer films in the 1960s and 1970s to the most recent queer films, we will rigorously view and dissect each representative work of queer Asian cinema beyond cultural and national borders. We will mainly focus on the films that demonstrate both aesthetic and political dimensions of queer cinema, though we will also discuss a few more popular films, including those labeled as boys love films. Through these inter-Asian and transnational approaches, students will have opportunities to understand queer Asian cinema as a political and transnational mode of film production. In addition to surveying the proposed topics, students will also be introduced to several groundbreaking works of queer theory, which will help us to better understand the cinematic representation of queer subjects.


TTh 12:30-2:20

5 Credits

Faculty Contact: Ungsan Kim (