Cross-Dressing in Chinese Opera

Cross-Dressing in Chinese Opera

Cross-Dressing in Chinese Opera

Cross-Dressing in Chinese Opera

Synopsis

Informed by queer and feminist theories, this book offers a critical and historical reinterpretation of theatrical cross-dressing in Chinese culture embodied in various discourses, texts and artifacts from the eighth century to the present time.

Excerpt

The history of Chinese opera can, among many possible characterizations, be instructively described as a series of narrative fragments of "gender trouble." In the beginning (of its textual history), Chinese theatre was to a significant extent constituted in and through gender b(l)ending. The enchantment of the figure of the "male dan" "nandan/qiandan" — female impersonator — remains a stubborn residual element in the cultural imagination in some layers of contemporary Chinese societies. The various kinds of queer possibilities in the social and cultural locality of Chinese opera, epitomized in its commanding tradition of cross-dressing, have yet to be examined in depth. Viewing the various dramatic and performance texts and practices as signs of historical processes and drawing on "those gestures or analytical models which dramatise incoherencies in the allegedly stable relations between chromosomal sex, gender and sexual desire" (Jagose 3), the present study investigates Chinese opera in terms of the highly mediated representations of gender and sexuality embodied in the prevalent practice of theatrical cross-dressing presented in a variety of discourses, texts and artifacts from the eighth century to the present time. An attention to the ideological and cultural complexities of theatrical transvestism throughout history underlies this interrogation. This research employs an interdisciplinary approach to address the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.