Philosophische Fakultät

Pagers, Zines and Dating Apps: Queer Community Media and Health Communication in China

Hongwei Bao, in conversation with Zairong Xiang and Gero Bauer

Co-convened by the Center for Gender and Diversity Research, University of Tübingen

Thursday, 9 July, 14.00–16.00 (Central European Time)

With the public (re-)emergence of LGBTQ identities and communities in post-Mao China, health and wellbeing have become important issues for queer people. This event revisits a few key moments in China’s queer history when media play an important role in health communication and community activism. They include: the use of pagers and telephone hotlines in the 1990s, the nationwide distribution of self-published leaflets and zines in the 2000s, and the almost ubiquitous use of dating apps in queer communities in the 2010s. These social, collective, and participatory forms of media shape identity, community, and politics in specific ways. This brief archaeology of queer community media hopes to highlight the crucial role of media in identity construction, community formation, and subcultural health intervention.

In this online panel, with a talk by Hongwei Bao (Nottingham) at its centre, Zairong Xiang (Duke Kunshan), himself an expert of decolonial feminism and queer theory, and Gero Bauer (Center for Gender and Diversity Research, Tübingen) will engage in a conversation with Dr Bao on queer community media and health in China, the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, and other issues.


Dr Hongwei Bao is Associate Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Nottingham, where he also co-directs the Centre for Contemporary East Asian Cultural Studies. He is the author of Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Press, 2018) and Queer China: Lesbian and Gay Literature and Visual Culture under Postsocialism (Routledge, 2020). He is currently working on a book on queer community media in China.

Dr Zairong Xiang is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, and Associate Director of Art at Duke Kunshan University. He is the author of Queer Ancient Ways: A Decolonial Exploration (punctum books, 2018), and has co-edited the special issues “The Ontology of the Couple” (2019) at GLQ – A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, and “Hyperimage” for New Art 新美術 (2018). He is co-curating the 2020 Guangzhou Image Triennial and is working on two projects, dealing with the concepts of “transdualism” and “counterfeit” in the Global South, especially Latin America and China, respectively.

Dr Gero Bauer teaches English Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Tübingen, and is the managing director of Tübingen’s Center for Gender and Diversity Research. Since the publication of his first monograph, Houses, Secrets and the Closet: Locating Masculinities from the Gothic Novel to Henry James (2016), he has been working on a new project on hope and kinship in contemporary Anglo-American fiction. He has also published journal articles and book chapters on early modern natural philosophy (2014, 2017), gender and literature (2017), queer film and television (2018, 2019), and queer pedagogies (2020).