Digital Intimacies, Gendered Modernities

Activity: Talks or PresentationsOther Invited Talks or Presentations


Digital mediations of everyday life in Asian contexts must be situated within regimes of liberalisation and the deepening of consumer culture which is spawning all kinds of value transformations, potential selves and futures to normalise aspiration as a form of social belonging, with female selves in particular being re-made as aspiring individuals. How do the newer cultural practices around the digital relate to longer histories that entwine gender and sexuality with constructions of nation and modernity in Asia?

The present-day context of digital mediation is undergirded by processes of social transformation that unfurled as societies worldwide became modern from the nineteenth century onwards. While this was indeed a worldwide process, the specific emergence of modernity within Asian contexts helps us better understand the contemporary dynamics of digital mediation. These dynamics are both similar and different across Guangzhou, Bangalore, Singapore and Hong Kong, the sites that our project examines. Drawing out trajectories of modernity and the constitutive role of gender and sexuality in their formations provides a crucial frame for understanding the contemporary transformations that continue to shape and reshape these locations. 19th and early 20th century debates around culture, tradition, women and modernity in our four locations intersect with the formation of 'national' identities. Our contention is that the specific and dense historical trajectories we investigate are crucial for understanding how the digital is experienced by the young women at the centre of our project.
Period3 Jun 2024
Held atDepartment of Cultural Studies