Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific are frequently considered exemplary regions for the study of gender and sexuality. This panel invites ethnographically grounded papers from both regions as a way to draw out new possibilities for comparison in the role of understanding broader transformations.
Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific are frequently considered to be exemplary regions for the study of diverse genders and sexualities. This panel invites papers from both regions as a way to draw out new possibilities for considering the role of anthropological comparison in the study of genders and sexualities. This panel engages with the possibilities of 'queer comparisons' in two ways. First, it examines how comparison between gender and sexuality in these two regions might generate new understandings. Second, it asks how doing so might serve to queer (critique the implicit heteronormativity) of comparison in its classical anthropological mode. Recent ethnographic studies of gender and sexuality in the Pacific (such as Niko Besnier and Kalissa Alexeyeff's Gender on the Edge) and island Southeast Asia (such as Tom Boellstorff's The Gay Archipelago) emphasise the centrality of archipelagic forms of transmission and interaction. Equally, both regions highlight how gender and sexuality are not marginal but offer critical insights into understandings in the role of understanding broad scale social transformations. Lastly, both highlight how certain nations and islands remain awkwardly placed 'in-between' these two regions, and as such are often framed as marginal in studies of gender and sexuality. This panel invites ethnographically grounded papers which focus on a single regional/national/local contexts in either island Southeast Asia or the Pacific. In doing so it hopes to stimulate discussion across papers on the panel theme as a whole.