Translingual, Transgressive, Transnational: Queer Lala Feminism in the Sinophone World Restricted; Files Only

Dian, Dian (Fall 2023)

Permanent URL:



This dissertation explores the story of lala (queer women’s) activism in the Sinophone world, focusing on the translingual, transgressive, and transnational dimensions of what I called queer lala feminism. It offers a nuanced understanding of the Sinophone queer feminist movement, highlighting its unique position within global feminist and queer discourses and examining its contribution to gender and sexuality activism.

Employing archival investigation, autoethnography, oral history, and textual analysis, this research emphasizes the importance of reflexivity and narrative as a political practice and a form of community engagement. The study aims to interrogate how queer lala feminism in the Sinophone world reconfigures US-centered conceptions of feminist and queer discourses. It also examines queer lala feminism’s existing and potential contributions to gender and sexuality activism within the Sinophone world and beyond. Specifically, the research explores how queer lala feminism challenges Chinese hegemony from the perspective of transnational Sinophone activism.

Chapter One traces the genealogy of the terms “ku’er” (queer) and “lala” within the Sinophone context. This exploration reveals the intricate processes of translation and cultural adaptation and sets the stage for understanding the subsequent development of queer lala feminism.

Chapter Two delves into the transgressive discourse of queer lala feminism through the online media platform, Queer Lala Times (QLT). It illustrates how QLT created  a counterpublic space that challenged mainstream gender-sexuality narratives and fostered transformation within the Sinophone queer feminist movement. The chapter provides an in-depth analysis of QLT’s organizational structure and media formats, showcasing its role in articulating and theorizing queer lala feminism.

Chapter Three explores the transnational intersectionality of queer lala feminism, focusing on the Chinese Lala Alliance (CLA) and the post-CLA cyber resistance. It examines the transnational activism of Sinophone lalas, as they navigated the geopolitical rise of China and its growing hegemony. The chapter underscores the delicate balance between lala activists’ friendship-based solidarity and the multifaceted challenges they face in their transnational endeavors.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: Activism Is Like the Steps of a Tango

Queer Lala Feminism in the Sinophone World

Significance of Queer Lala Feminism in Transnational Contexts


1. Archival Investigation

2. (Auto-)ethnography

3. Oral History

4. Textual/narrative Analysis and Close Reading

Literature Review

Lala Movement toward Gender and Sexuality: Revisit the “Split” of Queer/Feminism

Queer Sinophone Studies: Challenging Not Only the Western but Also the Chinese Hegemony

Lala Activism in the Sinophone World: From the Ethnography of Lala to a Lala Civil Society

Chapter Outlines

Chapter 1 The Translingual Queer Lala Feminism: A Genealogy of the Translingual Practice of “Ku’er Lala”

Chapter 2 The Transgressive Queer Lala Feminism: The Counterpublics in Queer Lala Times

Chapter 3 The Transnational Queer Lala Feminism: Lala Activism in the Sinophone Civil Society

CHAPTER 1 The Translingual Queer Lala Feminism: A Genealogy of the Translingual Practice of “Ku’er Lala”

1.1    Queer as Ku’er: Translating Queer Theory into Sinophone Activism

1.1.1 “Marginalized Ku’er Occupying Isle Margin”: Queer as Ku’er (Cool Child)

1.1.2 “The Dawn Illuminates the Twenty-First Century”: Queer Theory for Future and Freedom

1.1.3 Tongzhi Assimilation versus Radical Ku’er: Queer Politics against Homonormativity?

1.2    “We are Lala”: The Subjectivation of Lala in the Sinophone World

1.2.1  “Why La Has to Be a Verb?”: The Literature Origin of the Active Persona Lazi

1.2.2. Lala Backyard Garden: The Forming of Sinophone Lala Community through the Internet

1.2.3. Translating Queer Women in Urban China: The Travel of Lala Discourse

Conclusion: Articulating Sinophone Queer Lala Feminism through Translingual Practices

CHAPTER 2 The Transgressive Queer Lala Feminism: The Counterpublics in Queer Lala Times

2.1 We Are Activists in “Times”: The Conditions of the Birth of Queer Lala Times

2.1.1 “In China Today . . . Just Imagine the ‘Yes’!”: The Optimistic Temporality

2.1.2 “We Are Activists (Practitioners)”: Activist Experiences and Lala Subjectivation

2.2 Crafting a Transgressive Counterpublic: The Discursive Space of Queer Lala Times

2.2.1 “We Are Narrators”: A Space for All to Tell Their Stories with Diverse Formats

2.2.2 “Why Disputes Matter”: The Idealization of the “Counter” in Queer Lala Counterpublic

Conclusion: Temporality, Deidealization, and Care

CHAPTER 3 The Transnational Queer Lala Feminism: Lala Activism in the Sinophone Civil Society

3.1    Chinese Lala Alliance: Transnational Sinophone Lala Activism, 2007–2018

3.1.1 Lala Camps: From Sinophone Cyberspace to Face-to-Face Friendship-based Solidarity

3.1.2 (De)idealization of CLA’s Transnational Civil Society Practices

3.2 Lala Activists’ Resistance against the Neo-fascist Chinese Cyber-nationalism after 2018

3.2.1 Situating Chinese Cyber-nationalism in the Global Neofascism

3.2.2 Hegemonic Masculinity in Anonymous Cyber Attacks against Lala Activists

3.3.3 Queer Lala Feminism beyond Identity: Lala Activist Resistance Strategies

Conclusion: Deidealizing Transnational Civil Society Amid the Rise of Chinese Hegemony

CODA: Queer Lala Feminism in the Diaspora Sinophone World

About this Dissertation

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified Preview image embargoed

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files