Conditional Spaces

Hong Kong Lesbian Desires and Everyday Life


Denise Tse-Shang Tang

ISBN : 978-988-8083-02-2

Cultural Studies, Gender Studies Queer Asia (酷兒亞洲)

September 2011

208 pages, 6″ x 9″, 9 b&w illus.

  • HK$195.00

Also available in Hardback HK$395.00

Dense living conditions in Hong Kong do not provide much privacy for lesbians and other sexual minorities living with their families. As a result, lesbians often locate alternative spaces to develop support networks with other women. Others reject the notion of lesbian spaces and instead assert their visibility in different aspects of everyday life. Based on life history interviews with several dozen lesbians living in Hong Kong, this book maps the complex relations between personal subjectivities and spatialities as they emerge and interact with various social justice movements and alternative communities.

Denise Tse-Shang Tang is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong is a queer space in a queer time. In this ground-breaking study, Tang explores how the impossibly dense spaces of neoliberal Hong Kong enable and curtail the emergence of lesbian life. Theoretically astute and ethnographically rich, this book brings us into bedrooms, living rooms, classrooms, churches, offices, cafes, streets, and neighborhoods to interrogate the spatial conditions of desire.” —David L. Eng, University of Pennsylvania

Conditional Spaces draws an inspired connection between urban spaces and lesbian subjectivity in contemporary Hong Kong. Theoretically engaged, sharply observant, and profoundly personal, this study presents a lively account of how women with lesbian desire navigate intimate spaces in Hong Kong’s densely urban and socially regulated environment. Denise Tang renders these life stories with deep thoughtfulness, great sophistication, and a three-dimensional clarity. She has written an impressive work that exemplifies the strengths and talents of an exciting new generation of Queer Asian scholarship.” —Helen Hok-Sze Leung, author of Undercurrents: Queer Culture and Postcolonial Hong Kong

Conditional Spaces contributes to the growing body of literature on queer globalization, while revealing what is unique about same-sex cultures emerging under China’s gaze. An invaluable guide to understanding how Hong Kong lesbians create spaces of resistance despite constraints of space, culture and political economy.” —Arlene Stein, Rutgers University