Institute for Gender Studies,Ochanomizu University

Josephine Ho

Ph.D. Visiting Professor at IGS Professor, Department of English Coordinator, the Center for the Study of Sexualities National Central University, Taiwan

The 13th IGS Evening Seminar Series

Emerging Challenges to Feminist Gender/Sexuality Theories and Politics in East Asia


May 28, June 4, June 18, June 27, July 4, 2003


Josephine Ho,
Ph.D. Visiting Professor at IGS Professor, Department of English Coordinator, the Center for the Study of Sexualities National Central University, Taiwan


Josephine Chuen-Juei Ho has been writing both extensively and provocatively to open up new discursive space for gender/sexuality issues. Her theoretically informed but discursively accessible books, all written in Chinese as timely interventions into Taiwanese gender/sexuality politics, include The Gallant Woman--Feminism and Sexual Emancipation(1994), Gendered Nations--Sexuality, Capital and Culture(1994), Sexual Moods: A Therapeutic and Liberatory Report on Female Sexuality(1996), Radical Sexuality Education: Gender/Sexuality Education for the "New Generation" (1998), and The Admirable/Amorous Woman(1998). She has also edited a number of anthologies of Taiwanese gender/sexuality research in sex work, queer studies, and transgender studies since 1997. She now heads the Center for the Study of Sexualities at National Central University性/別研究所, well-known for both its activism and its intellectual stamina. The Center is noted for its international conferences that featured celebrated scholars including Cindy Patton, D. A. Miller, Eve Sedgewick, and Judith Halberstam.

Lecture 1 (May 28) Pornography and Female Sexual Agency

Discussant: NEMURA Naomi (Associate Professor, Nihon University)
Moderator: KAWANO Kiyomi (Professor, Ochanomizu University)

The pervasive presence of cable television and the internet is now exacerbating long-standing worries over the existence and easy accessibility of pornographic materials. Public discourses about pornography are increasingly dominated by feminist critique of the representation of female desire and the exaggerated representation of male desire in pornography that work to strengthen male domination. Feminists have even actively sought state support in setting up laws that would ban the production and circulation of pornographic materials in print and on the internet. This lecture will explore feminist formulations of the pornography controversy and their implications not only for feminist thought but also for discussions of social constructionism.

BASIC READING: Vance, Carole S., ed. Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality. London: Pandora, 1989, 1992. 1-27.
FURTHER READING: Rubin, Gayle. "Misguided, Dangerous and Wrong: an Analysis of Anti-Pornography Politics." Bad Girls and Dirty Pictures: The Challenge to Reclaim Feminism. Eds. By Alison Assiter & Avedon Carol. Boulder, Colorado: Pluto Press, 1993. 18-40.

Lecture 2 (June 4) Self-Empowerment and Professional Performativity in Sex Work

Discussant: MIZUSHIMA Nozomi (UNIDOS Uphold Now! Immediate De-criminalization of Sexwork!, SWASH Sex Work And Sexual Health)
Moderator: KAWANO Kiyomi (Professor, Ochanomizu University)

The question of female sexual power and agency has been the focus of feminist sex wars in the past decades. Based on conversations with active sex workers, the lecture will explore the self-empowering discourses and practices that some Taiwanese sex workers have forged out of limited cultural resources that are barely available to them. These discourses and practices not only help sex workers maintain better control of their work condition, but also provide images of professionalism for the purpose of self protection from physical harm and social defamation. This lecture will explore the articulation of self-empowerment unto image of professionalism which developed out of the struggle of Taiwanese sex workers.

BASIC READING: Ho, Josephine. " Self-Empowerment and "Professionalism': Conversations with Taiwanese Sex Workers." InterAsia Journal of Cultural Studies 2 (Aug. 2000): 283-299.
FURTHER READING: Chapkis, Wendy. Live Sex Acts: Women Performing Erotic Labor. New York: Routledge, 1997. 69-82.

Lecture 3 (June 18) From Spice Girls to Enjo Kosai: Formations of Teenage Girls' Sexualities in Taiwan

Discussant: TAZAKI Hideaki (Part-time university lecturer)
Moderator: KAWANO Kiyomi (Professor, Ochanomizu University)

Girls who dared to demonstrate some degree of sexual adventurism or sexual self-determination usually end up being labeled as problem girls treading on dangerous grounds who are doomed for tragedy. Yet in the past decade a wide range of teenage sexual expressions and activities in Taiwan have been observed. In fact, such demonstrations of teenage girls' sexualities have become so clearly in sight and so blatantly "in your face" that adult concerns are raging in an effort to rein in such energies. This lecture will trace some of the most obvious formations of teenage girls' sexualities in present-day Taiwan to achieve a broader understanding of the on-going profound social changes that have contributed to such phenomena.

BASIC READING: Ehrenreich, Barbara, Elizabeth Hess, & Gloria Jacobs. Re-Making Love: the Feminization of Sex. New York: Doubleday, 1986. 10-38. FURTHER READING: Rubin, Gayle. "Thinking sex: notes for a radical theory of the politics of sexuality." Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality, 2nd ed. Ed. by Carol S. Vance. London: Pandora Press, 1984, 1989, 1992. 267-319.


Lecture 4 (June 27) From Anti-Trafficking to Social Discipline

Discussant: TAKEMURA Kazuko (Professor, Ochanomizu University)
Moderator: ITO Ruri (Professor, Ochanomizu University)

Prostitution, as the "oldest profession in human history," has not always dominated public discourse or attention. Yet at certain critical moments, prostitution may be taken as "a metaphor, a medium of articulation" in which various emerging forces and social anxieties play out their displaced existence. This lecture will trace the process through which the "problem" of prostitution came to be enveloped in the discourse of anti-trafficking in the Taiwanese context and how such an anti-trafficking discourse, gradually losing its relevance within a fast changing social reality, transformed itself into an intricate web of social discipline that works to regulate a much larger population than merely the trafficked.

BASIC READING: Ho, Josephine. "From Anti-Trafficking to Social Discipline: The Case in Taiwan." (Forthcoming in Shifting the Debate: New Approaches to Trafficking, Migration, and Sex Work in Asia, eds. by Kamala Kempadoo, Jyoti Sanghera, & Bandana Pattanaik)
FURTHER READING: Bland, Lucy. Banishing the Beast: Sexuality and the Early Feminists. New York: The New Press, 1995. 95-123.


Lecture 5 (July 4) Identity and Em[bodi]ment: Constructing the Transgender

Discussant: MITSUHASHI Junko (Visiting Researcher, the Institute of Social Sciences, Chuo University)
Moderator: ITO Ruri (Professor, Ochanomizu University)

Transgendered subjects of Taiwan have worked to construct, out of limited social resources and cultural space, their own bodies and images in order to manage their sexual bodies and gender identities. The specificity of transgender existence in the Taiwanese context as well as the dynamic strategies that these subjects have devised to maneuver their social existence is only beginning to be studied. This lecture will discuss how differences in sex, age, socio-economic status, appearance, physique, etc. affect the persuasiveness of the embodiment of their identities, and how the subjectivities thus developed in this process of self-construction continue to refract the meaning and presentation of gender embodiment in addition to casting new variables in our culture of gender dimorphism.

BASIC READING: Prosser, Jay (1998). Second Skins: The Body Narratives of Transsexuality. New York: Columbia UP. 1-17.
FURTHER READING: Califia, Pat (1997). Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism. San Francisco: Cleis P. 86-119.

Organizing Committee: ITO Ruri, KAWANO Kiyomi, TAKEMURA Kazuko, MIYAO Masaki Secretariat: AKIBAYASHI Kozue, HASEGAWA Kazumi

※This event is finished.

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Institute for Gender Studies,Ochanomizu University
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Phone: 81-3-5978-5846 Fax: 81-3-5978-5845