Monday, May 19, 2008


I wanted to thank everyone in the class for being so great! Sometimes I felt a little uninformed, but you were all patient and wonderful and I had such a good time. It's always good to learn about something new and our discussions (sometimes more like debates) were a blast.
I don't usually get to really explore things in depth in my classes because so much material was covered, and we did cover a lot, but it was nice having a small class and really getting to talk as a group and work through some ideas.
I appreciate all of you and what each of you added to my learning experience! I hope to see you all around from time to time.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

La Tour Eiffel en rouge et blanc.

For my cultural presentation in my Japanese class, I made a video on the construction of homosexuality in Japan from past to present. I was largely inspired by one of the discussions we had in class of what it means to be gay (during our section on Querelle de Brest). One of my primary sources was a great article called "Is there a Japanese 'gay identity'?" by Mark McLelland, which is short and concise (yet full of great information) and basically elaborates on everything I was trying to say about how there is really no such thing as gay or straight in Vietnamese culture (the philosophies and religions of ancient China having a profound effect on most of the east Asian countries, including Japan and Vietnam). I seem to remember reading somewhere that in all of recorded Japanese history, gay sex acts were only illegal for something like 11 years, and this was during the period that immediately followed Japan's opening up to (and rapid assimilation of) western values and technology after centuries of isolation. Anyway, I'd upload the video I made, but its terrible, weird, and in Japanese.

Instead, here's a link to the article:

My other primary source was a book called Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan by Gary Leupp. It's a great read too. Even though both deal specifically with Japan, I think they really help illustrate how sexuality is a social construct.

And if you wanna read a really fun book that picks up with French culture and history where we left off, I recommend Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture by Kristin Ross.

That's all! H.A.G.S. everybody!