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Bookshelf Spotlight: Understanding Gender & Sex Rights

Featured Books

* A Coincidence of Desires
* Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics
* Love, Sex, and Power: Women in Southeast Asia
* Sexuality, Gender and Rights: Exploring Theory and Practice in South and Southeast Asia
* Transnational Asia Pacific: Gender, Culture, and the Public Sphere

A Coincidence of Desires

by Tom Boellstorff
Duke University Press Books, 2007

In A Coincidence of Desires, Tom Boellstorff considers how interdisciplinary collaboration between anthropology and queer studies might enrich both fields. For more than a decade he has visited Indonesia, both as an anthropologist exploring gender and sexuality and as an activist involved in HIV prevention work. Drawing on these experiences, he provides several in-depth case studies, primarily concerning the lives of Indonesian men who term themselves gay (an Indonesian-language word that overlaps with, but does not correspond exactly to, the English word “gay”). These case studies put interdisciplinary research approaches into practice. They are preceded and followed by theoretical meditations on the most productive forms that collaborations between queer studies and anthropology might take. Boellstorff uses theories of time to ask how a model of “coincidence” might open up new possibilities for cooperation between the two disciplines. He also juxtaposes his own work with other scholars’ studies of Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore to compare queer sexualities across Southeast Asia. In doing so, he asks how comparison might be understood as a queer project and how queerness might be understood as comparative.

The case studies contained in A Coincidence of Desires speak to questions about the relation of sexualities to nationalism, religion, and globalization. They include an examination of zines published by gay Indonesians; an analysis of bahasa gay—a slang spoken by gay Indonesians that is increasingly appropriated in Indonesian popular culture; and an exploration of the place of warias (roughly, “male-to-female transvestites”) within Indonesian society. Boellstorff also considers the tension between Islam and sexuality in gay Indonesians’ lives and a series of incidents in which groups of men, identified with Islamic fundamentalism, violently attacked gatherings of gay men. Collectively, these studies insist on the primacy of empirical investigation to any queer studies project that wishes to speak to the specificities of lived experience.

Duke University Press | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

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Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics

by Cynthia Enloe
University of California Press, 2001

This radical analysis of globalization reveals the crucial role of women in international politics today. Cynthia Enloe pulls back the curtain on the familiar scenes–governments promoting tourism, companies moving their factories overseas, soldiers serving on foreign soil–and shows that the real landscape is not exclusively male. She describes how many women’s seemingly personal strategies–in their marriages, in their housework, in their coping with ideals of beauty–are, in reality, the stuff of global politics. In exposing policymakers’ reliance on false notions of “femininity” and “masculinity,” Enloe dismantles an apparently overwhelming world system, revealing it to be much more fragile and open to change than we think.

University of California, Press | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

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Love, Sex, and Power: Women in Southeast Asia

by Susan Blackburn
Monash Asia Institute, 2011

Papers presented here deal with various aspects of power and gender in Southeast Asia. Some contributions explore the connections between power, sex, and love. Others examine the ways in which religion, education, and work affect power relations between men and women. A case study illustrates how the Indonesian state used puppeteers to spread the message of family planning. Material originated at a September 1999 workshop held at Monash University. This work is distributed by ISBS. It lacks a subject index.

Monash Asia Institute | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

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Sexuality, Gender and Rights: Exploring Theory and Practice in South and Southeast Asia

by Geetanjali Misra
Sage Publications, 2005

There is virtually no record of work on sexuality and rights in South and Southeast Asia, and even less to show how theory can link to practice. This volume fills the gap by demonstrating how the ideas of scholars and activists can be converted into action that can make a difference to people’s lives.

The 15 original essays span eight countries and analytically document on-going work in areas such as: sexuality education; sexual health services; sexual rights; transexuality; and HIV/AIDS prevention. They also offer a variety of strategies in advocacy, service delivery, education, training and media outreach activities.

Sage Press | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

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Transnational Asia Pacific: Gender, Culture, and the Public Sphere

edited by Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Larry E. Smith, and Wimal Dissanayake
University of Illinois Press, 1999

This timely collection provides a critical transnational perspective on some of the complex cultural effects of emerging global capitalisms and modernities in the Asia Pacific region. Geographically, this vast territory encompasses Japan, the newly industrialized states of East Asia and China, the Southeast Asian countries, Australia, New Zealand, the South Sea Islands, and the Pacific coast of North America. Culturally and conceptually, its reach is even more extensive. Departing from the exclusive focus on economic and political issues that has dominated analyses of the region, Transnational Asia Pacific assesses the relation of gender to development, education, and culture. Contributors explore the psychosocial and linguistic processes through which women’s selves are constructed, the role of popular culture and mass media in shaping new female identities, and the consequences for men’s and women’s lives of the state’s response to modernization and global capitalism. Cutting to the heart of key cultural issues, Transnational Asia Pacific advances our understanding of the dynamics of cultural globalization and their impacts on Asian social communities.

University of Illinois Press | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

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