In this course, you will learn about cultural constructions of gender (including non-heteronormative genders), in several countries of the Southeast Asian region with a focus on the more contemporary era from the mid-twentieth century to the present. The topics covered include: the way religion, culture (including popular culture), and authoritarian regimes are complicit in fashioning gender, the gendering of politics, sexualities, women’s movements and gender activism, gender and work, the impact of migrations, and reproductive rights. We discuss uniquely Southeast Asian issues such as prostitution, sex trafficking, professional girlfriends, entertainers, and mistresses, gender icons such as the Singapore Girl and the strongman politician, gender and the marketplace, Orientalism, ‘mail-order’ brides, beauty queens, gender and national dress (including the semiotics of veiling), and the marriage imperative.
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