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Who is Afraid of Hybridity?: Politics of Language in Translocal Chinese Slash Fandom

Sun, June 26, 1:00 to 2:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 110


In recent years, slash fans (i.e. fans who express their fantasy about the same-sex relationship between stars) are occupying a central rather than marginal area in the cultural consumption of China. If existing theories of intersectionality draw our attention to the underrepresented communities at the crossroads of gender studies and postcolonial studies, the slash fandom’s intimacy with the mainstream popular culture today potentially entails certain kinds of crossfire between the two disciplines.

The present paper discusses this potentiality with special focus on the concept of “hybridity” coined by Homi Bhabha (1994). In studies by previous scholars like Rey Chow (1993, 1998) and Sik Ying Ho (2005), Hong Kong is articulated as the ideal of cultural hybridity in-between China and the West, which simultaneously indicates an “authentic” image of (mainland) China in contrast to it. However, an active appropriation of Hong Kong Cantonese and Chinese dialects is found in the literary and visual works created by Chinese slash fans.

Through a textual analysis of fictions and comics created by the Hong Kong pop star William Wai-Ting Chan’s slash fans in China, the paper attempts to extract the roles played by the hybridity of languages in narration. The guiding questions of the research are how this hybridity of languages testifies the dominating language ideology in China, how it challenges the validity of hybridity as a strategy of resistance, and ultimately, what implications has it brought about to the assessment of slash fandom’s political dimensions.