Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of the American “Oriental,” (Champaign, University of Illinois Press, 2018)
In the late 1890s, “wide and open” San Francisco appeared to be a place where men and women could configure their intimate lives in expansive and unconventional ways. Yet as whites explored and enacted new norms of romance and womanhood, increasing freedoms would be less accessible for Asians in America. Discriminating Sex details how middle class white expansion of their own gender and sexual norms conflated Chinese and Japanese - initially seen as two distinct races - and formed the pan-Asian “Oriental,” a deeply sexual racialized stereotype, more than a hundred years ago.
Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2012)
Poet Yone Noguchi, more famously as known as the father of acclaimed artist Isamu Noguchi, enmeshed himself in several duplicitous affairs at the turn of the century. As Yone wrote passionate letters of love to western writer Charles Warren Stoddard, he proposed marriage to Alabama’s first historian Ethel Armes and impregnated editor Léonie Gilmour. Private fantasies and frustrated intimacies attest to how even the most seemingly selfish acts of sexuality are bound up in socio-cultural norms.
Selected Articles, Essays, and Edited Collections
"Breathing Fire: Remembering Asian Pacific Activism in Queer History," in LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History, ed., Megan Springate (Washington, D.C.: National Park Foundation, 2016). Available online at www.nps.gov/subjects/tellingallamericansstories/lgbtqthemestudy.htm.
“Jendā, shakaiundō, soshite rezubianu de arukoto ni tsuite” ジェンダー、社会運動、そしてレズアンであるおことについて [Gender, Activism, and Sexuality], Okinawa Jendāgaku 沖縄ジェンダー学 [Okinawa Gender Studies], ed. Ikue Kina (Tōkyō: Ōtsuki Shoten, 2016): 177-208.
“Why Queer Asian American Studies?: Implications for Japanese America,” Pan-Japan: The International Journal of the Japanese Diaspora, Special Issue - Conjecturing Communities: The Ebbs and Flows of Japanese 11, nos. 1 & 2, ed., Lane Ryo Hirabayashi (Summer 2015): 104-120.
“What Western History Means to Me,” Western Historical Association Newsletter: Special Issue – Queer History in the West (Spring 2013): 25-28.
“InnovAsian in Pornography: Asian American Masculinity and the Porno Revolution,” in 21st Century Sexualities: Contemporary Issues in Health, Education and Rights, ed. Gilbert Herdt and Cymene Howe (New York: Routledge, 2007), 78-80.
Guest Editor, Amerasia Journal- Special Issue: Asian Americans and the Marriage Equality Debate 32, no.1 (2006).
“Friday the Thirteenth – Love, Commitment, and then Catastrophe: Personal Reflections on the Marriage Equality Movement,” Amerasia Journal- Special Issue: Asian Americans and the Marriage Equality Debate 32, no.1 (2006): xi-xvii.
To be reprinted in Contingent Maps: Rethinking the North American West and Western Women’s History (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2014), in press.
“Sexuality and Asian Pacific Islander History,” Asian Pacific American Collective History Project, 2004 [online]; available from http://apachp.net/; Internet.
“For a More Queer-Friendly Japanese America,” Nichi Bei Weekly, 29 July 2010 – 4 August 2010, p. 2.
“Threat to Asians,” San Francisco Chronicle, 21 April 2010, p. A15, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/21/ED461D26VA.DTL
Review of Stranger Intimacy: Contesting Race, Sexuality, and Law in the North American West by Nayan Shah, Pacific Historical Review 82, no. 2 (May 2013): 297-298.
Review of Doctor Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity by Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, Journal of American Ethnic History (Fall 2005): 113-115.
Review of The Making of a Gay Asian Community: An Oral History of Pre-AIDS Los Angeles by Eric C. Wat, Journal of the History of Sexuality 12, no. 3 (July 2003): 504-506.
Review of If They Don’t Bring Their Women Here: Chinese Female Immigration Before Exclusion by George Anthony Peffer, Law and History Review 20, no.2 (Summer 2002): 421-423.
Review of Asian American Sexualities edited by Russell Leong and Q& A: Queer in Asian America edited by David Eng and Alice Hom in Amerasia Journal 25, no.1 (1999): 194-200.
“The Same-sex Wedding Album, Amy & Sheree,” American Sexuality Magazine 2, no.3, March 2004 [journal on-line]; available from http://nsrc.sfsu.edu/HTMLArticle.cfm?Article=271&PageID=75&SID=FBE8414B3... Internet.
Works in Progress
Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of the American "Oriental," book manuscript in press with University of Illinois Press.
In the late 1890s, middle class whites explored and expanded gender and sexual norms in unprecedented ways. In San Francisco divorce rates climbed, women were becoming mannish, and extramarital sex seemed unstoppable. Social critics protested the seeming chaos, projecting their moral fears on city Asians. Characterizations of Asians powerfully served as mirrors of shifting gender and sexuality among whites. They also seeded the beginnings of an pan-Asian American experience in the formation of a single imagined "Oriental." These representations underscored not only how discussions of morality are often racialized, but also how operations of gender and sexuality evocatively clarify the ubiquity of white privilege.