Gender on the Edge: Transgender, Gay, and Other Pacific Islanders

Besnier-GenderTransgender identities and other forms of gender and sexuality that transcend the normative pose important questions about society, culture, politics, and history. They force us to question, for example, the forces that divide humanity into two gender categories and render them necessary, inevitable, and natural. The transgender also exposes a host of dynamics that, at first glance, have little to do with gender or sex, such as processes of power and domination; the complex relationship among agency, subjectivity, and structure; and the mutual constitution of the global and the local.

Particularly intriguing is the fact that gender and sexual diversity appear to be more prevalent in some regions of the world than in others. Gender on the Edge is an exploration of the ways in which non-normative gendering and sexuality in one such region, the Pacific Islands, are implicated in a wide range of socio-cultural dynamics that are at once local and global, historical, and contemporary. The authors recognize that different social configurations, cultural contexts, and historical trajectories generate diverse ways of being transgender across the societies of the region, but they also acknowledge that these differences are overlaid with commonalities and predictabilities.

Edited by Niko Besnier and Kalissa Alexeyeff

2014 | 408 pages | 20 illustrations | 2 maps
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3882-9 | $65.00s | Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3883-6 | $35.00s | Paper

Not for sale in East and Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand

Gender and Law in the Japanese Imperium

Gender and Law in the Japanese ImperiumArguing against the popular stereotype of Japan as a non-litigious society, an international group of contributors from Japan, Taiwan, Germany, and the U.S. explores how in Japan and its colonies, as elsewhere in the modern world, law became a fundamental means of creating and regulating gendered subjects and social norms in the period from the 1870s to the 1950s. In Gender and Law in the Japanese Imperium, the authors suggest that legal discourse was subject to negotiation, interpretation, and contestation at every level of their formulation and deployment.

With this as a shared starting point, they explore key issues such reproductive and human rights, sexuality, prostitution, gender and criminality, and the formation of the modern conceptions of family and conjugality, and use these issues to complicate our understanding of the impact of civil, criminal, and administrative laws upon the lives of both Japanese citizens and colonial subjects. The result is a powerful rethinking of not only gender and law, but also the relationships between the state and civil society, the metropole and the colonies, and Japan and the West.

Dilemmas of Adulthood: Japanese Women and the Nuances of Long-Term Resistance

Dilemmas of AdulthoodIn Dilemmas of Adulthood, Nancy Rosenberger investigates the nature of long-term resistance in a longitudinal study of more than fifty Japanese women over two decades. Between 25 and 35 years of age when first interviewed in 1993, the women represent a generation straddling the stable roles of post-war modernity and the risky but exciting possibilities of late modernity.

Rosenberger’s analysis establishes long-term resistance as a vital type of social change in late modernity where the sway of media, global ideas, and friends vies strongly with the influence of family, school, and work. Women are at the nexus of these contradictions, dissatisfied with post-war normative roles in family, work, and leisure and yet—in Japan as elsewhere—committed to a search for self that shifts uneasily between self-actualization and selfishness. The women’s rich narratives and conversations recount their ambivalent defiance of social norms and attempts to live diverse lives as acceptable adults. Dilemmas of Adulthood is essential for anyone wishing to understand how Japanese women have maneuvered their lives in the economic decline and pushed for individuation in the 1990s and 2000s.

November 2013, 224 pages, 2 illustrations
$24.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3696-2, Cloth
$50.00; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3887-4, Paper

Upcoming Talk by L. Ayu Saraswati, 2013 NWSA Gloria Anzaldúa Book Prize Winner

Saraswati-SensingBeautyOn Friday, October 18, 12:30–2:00 pm, author L. Ayu Saraswati, assistant professor in women’s studies at UH-Manoa, will speak on the topic of her book, Seeing Beauty, Sensing Race in Transnational Indonesia. Dr. Saraswati recently received the 2013 National Women’s Studies Association Gloria Anzaldúa book prize for her work, which explores and analyzes Indonesia’s changing beauty ideals.

Sponsored by the UHM Women’s Studies Colloquium Series and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the free event will take place in Saunders Hall 244. University of Hawai‘i Bookstore will have books available for purchase. The public is invited to the talk, followed by a book signing and refreshments.

UH Press around the Web: Summer Snips 2013

The Summer 2013 issue of Hyphen Magazine (#27 – The Sex Issue) has an interview with Amy Sueyoshi on her book, Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi. 

Stephen Hong Sohn’s Asian American Literature Fans Megapost blog review for May 31 included one for Relative Histories: Mediating History in Asian American Family Memoirs by Rocío Davis. (Look for the third title from the top.)

There’s still time to donate to an IndieGoGo project to raise money for a CD of 26 original and unique songs inspired by the poetry of the late Wayne Kaumualii Westlake. UH Press published the posthumous 2009 collection, Westlake: Poems by Wayne Kaumualii Westlake (1947-1984).

Robert J. Cabin, author of Restoring Paradise: Rethinking and Rebuilding Nature in Hawai‘i, wrote a related article in Earth Island Journal on successful ecological restoration projects. He also addressed questions on restoration ecology in an article earlier this year in American Scientist, titled “Nature Is Dead. Long Live Nature!” (Full article requires subscription or institutional access.)