Mourning in diaspora & narrating queer Asian melancholia (Talk)

Tickets available here

Date: 27 June 2018 | Venue: Paul Webley Atrium, SOAS | 1200-1300

‘Mourning in diaspora and narrating queer Asian melancholia’

Talk by Dr Wen Liu, Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University at Albany, State University of New York, USA

Chair: Dr Akanksha Mehta, University of Sussex

Conf 4 Liu

As US-led imperialism spreads through in the Asia Pacific region through neoliberal trades, military occupation, how do the affective spaces of “Asia” and “America” construct and assemble diasporic Asian subjects? Furthermore, as national allegiance is aggressive demanded by the surge of white nationalism in the Global North, how does one afford to be continually attached to an object—“Asia”—that is supposed to be gotten rid of in the interest of becoming Asian American? Drawing on narrative study with queer Asian American activists involved in anti-imperialist organizing in New York City, my talk situates their narratives of racialized queer grief in the framework of racial melancholia (Cheng 2000; Eng and Hang 2000) as a form of protest against the splitting of Asian and American identity. With a queer and intersectional framework of analysis and anti-essentialist method of narrating identity, this paper highlights how racial melancholia are strategies of subjectivity-making against the colonial splitting of blackness and whiteness, the erasure of imperial history, and segregation of communities.



Wen Liu is a Taiwanese scholar, writer, and Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at University at Albany, State University of New York.  As an interdisciplinary scholar of critical psychology and queer studies, Liu has focused her research on the engagement between global social movements and psychological theories on racial, gender, and sexual subjectivities, particularly at the intersection of LGBTQ and diasporic Asian American experiences.