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Author Talk – Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of the American “Oriental”

May 11, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Discriminating Sex

The San Francisco History Center and James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center of the San Francisco Public Library invite you to a special talk with Amy Sueyoshi, author of Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of American “Oriental” and professor of Race & Resistance Studies and Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University.
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. Rising rates of divorce, increasing sexual independence among women, and state condoned sex work defined the city. Yet as whites explored and enacted new norms of romance and womanhood, increasing freedoms would be less accessible for Asians in America. White writers, lyricists, illustrators, and other producers of leisure culture projected shifting norms of middle class gender and sexuality upon specifically Chinese and Japanese in newspapers, magazines, plays, and musicals. These characterizations would then conflate Chinese and Japanese, previously perceived as two separate races, into a single group. Discriminating Sex details how middle class white expansion of their own gender and sexual norms marked the formation of the pan-Asian “Oriental,” a deeply sexual racialized stereotype, more than a hundred years ago.


May 11, 2019
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Event Category:


San Francisco Main Library
100 Larkin Street, Latino/Hispanic Community Room
San Francisco, 94102 United States
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San Francisco Public Library