OUTing the Past 2019 Conference Speaker: Giuseppe Grispino

Giuseppe Grispino will be presenting during the “Examining Solidarity through Literary Sources and Perspectives” panel session. Giuseppe is currently serving as an Independent Scholar at Colgate University (New York, USA).

Queering the Taiwanese Status Quo

Since I was a child, I have been reading books from all around the world. In the summer of 2017, as I was finishing my first year of the Master’s in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (MTCSOL) at Capital Normal University in Beijing, I became interested in Chinese LGBTQ+ literature. Reading LGBTQ+ books in Chinese was not only a way to improve my reading skills in the target language, but it was also a precious opportunity to gain a better understanding of the LGBTQ+ community and its literary representation in China and the Chinese speaking world.

I still remember the day I walked into the library and borrowed Notes of a Crocodile by Taiwanese queer author Qiu Miaojin. That day marked the beginning of a year of constant research, which eventually led me to write my Master’s thesis on Qiu Miaojin’s two major works: Notes of a Crocodile and Last Words from Montmartre. 

Currently, I am researching and “outing” the formation of LGBTQ+ activist movements in post-Martial Law Taiwan. In doing so, I do not simply focus on their history. What I also focus on are the ways in which LGBTQ+ individuals and activists are represented in literature. In my talk, through the lenses of Qiu Miaojin’s novel Notes of a Crocodile, I will draw some of the distinctive traits of LGBTQ+ activism in 1990s’ Taiwan and its representation in literature. 


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