182 | CCN: 77947

Rhetoric of Sexual Exchange

Instructor: Pheng Cheah,

TuTh 330-5P, 109 DWINELLE

4 Units

Globalization is the systematic connection and linking up of different parts of the world through various flows, exchanges, transfers and networks. It can be divided into three aspects: the circulation of peoples and desires, the global spread of the capitalist market and mode of production (economic globalization), and the transnationalization of politics as the result of the emergence of cosmopolitan forms of political solidarity and transnational juridical forms such as human rights regimes. At the same time, the processes of globalization are also deeply disruptive, uneven, and unequal. They transform social relations according to the imperatives of late capitalist market culture by creating disjunctures and fragmenting social life and experience around differentiations of gender, race, and class. Thus, every global flow, exchange or network directly involves women as subjects or objects of exchange, labor and consumption, or has profound consequences for the sex-gender relations of the societies it traverses. The acceleration of globalization and its impact on society is greatly pronounced and intensified in Asia because of the region’s rapid development and integration into the capitalist world system. This course examines how the various aspects of globalization bring about a fundamental reordering of gender systems, exchanges, desires, and rights in the Asia-Pacific. Class readings and lectures will examine the nature of Orientalist and patriarchal discourse and their deployment by states, corporations, and markets in the construction of gender regimes, in facilitating and regulating the overlapping paths of people, goods, and consumer desires, and in gendering national identity. We will also explore how the conventional links between citizenship and the nation-state are reconfigured by the political strategies of feminists, cosmopolitan human rights discourses and NGOs affecting women’s interests in Asia.

Required Readings:
Edward Said, Orientalism (Vintage)
Karen Kelsky, Women on the Verge (Duke University Press, 2002)
Pun Ngai, Made in China: Women Factory Workers in a Global Workplace (Duke University Press, 2005)
Ryan Bishop and Lillian S. Robinson, Night Market: Sexual Cultures and the Thai Economic Miracle (Routledge, 1998)
Barbara Ehrenreich amd Arlie Russell Hochschild, eds. Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy (Owl Books, 2002)
Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins, eds., Cosmopolitics: Thinking & Feeling Beyond the Nation (University of Minnesota Press, 1998)