UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

“We don’t talk about this” : reticence, cultural identity, and queerness in Alice Wu’s Saving Face and Kim Fu’s For Today I Am A Boy Xiang, Yifan


This thesis outlines the ways in which reticent homophobia in diasporic Chinese families and communities contribute to the filial distress experienced by queer diasporic subjects. The analysis in this thesis can be located at the intersections of reticence, filial piety, and coercive mimeticism. This project was conceived with the intent to delineate reticence as defined by Ding Naifei and Liu Jen-peng in the context of queer Chinese diasporic identity. It argues that the power of reticence is not confined to its violence against expressions of queerness and non-heteronormative behaviour, but that it is an expression of power as social and linguistic aesthetic that paradoxically exerts itself as a form of powerlessness. Ultimately, this thesis is an attempt to use reticence as a critical lens through which to gain a deeper understanding of the “family’s structure of feeling” that erin Khuê Ninh imagines in analyses of the intergenerational conflict in immigrant families.

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