Tang, Denise Tse-shang – Critical Biography Top
Denise Tang is an Assistant Professor in Sociology at the University of Hong Kong. She received her MA in Educational Studies from the University of British Columbia, and her PhD in Applied Social Sciences from Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2008. She taught courses in gender and sexuality at the Graduate Institute for Gender Studies at Shih Hsin University in Taiwan prior to her current post at the University of Hong Kong. Her academic interests as a sociologist include feminism, gender studies, queer studies, marginalized communities and urban spatiality. Her other research interests include celebrity culture, film and new media. She cites her personal involvement as a community worker and volunteer in NGOs related to issues such as violence against women, LGBT, mental health and HIV/AIDS as influential upon her academic interests, which also gives her a multi-dimensional understanding of the topics she writes about. Some of those topics include queer representation in independent film and queer media in Hong Kong. In her book Conditional Spaces (2011), Tang situates herself as a Hong Kong academic in an “ambivalent era of a postcolonial past and a problematic Chinese future” and states that she had to renegotiate her way in Hong Kong society in order to “theorize [her] lived experience” (5).
Though not a filmmaker, her work in film is both academic and practical. She served as guest curator for the 21st Women Make Waves Film Festival 2014 in Taiwan, and Festival Director (2004 and 2005) and Festival Curator (2011-current) for the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (HKLGFF). The HKLGFF first took place in 1989, and is the longest running LGBT film festival in Asia. Tang describes the festival history as “incomplete due to the constant changing of festival organizers and the physical absence of a festival office” (“Demand for Cultural Representation,” 175). Coverage in the local and international media about the event in past years indicate its growing stature as a Hong Kong cultural event, but as Tang points out, the festival is problematic in terms of the types of films that are chosen, and the way in which it is presented to the Hong Kong public. (Tang points out that the festival is “a product of the postcolonial era”  as reflected by the disproportionate number western-produced English language films shown over local independent films, which are practically non-existent; that the festival’s core identity is upper middle class gay male, as reflected by the underrepresentation of lesbian, transgender and other themes; the location of the cinemas and the occasional lack of Chinese surtitles; the kinds of funding and sponsorship it attracts, amongst other complex issues.) Whilst there is room for growth in the HKLGFF, its continuing presence for twenty-five years will hopefully lead to greater social awareness and acceptance of the LGBT community in Hong Kong.
Department of Sociology, HKU – Profile of Denise Tang
- Lam, Joe, and Arthur Tam. “Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival 2014”. September 2014. Time Out Hong Kong. 24 November 2014. <http://www.timeout.com.hk/film/events/69115/hong-kong-lesbian-and-gay-film-festival-2014.html>.
- Lam, Tiffany. “The Best of Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival 2009”. 17 November 2009. CNN Travel. 24 November 2014. <http://travel.cnn.com/hong-kong/play/best-hong-kong-lesbian-and-gay-film-festival-2009-082916>.
- Tang, Denise Tse-shang. Conditional Spaces : Hong Kong Lesbian Desires and Everyday Life. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2011. Print.
—. “Demand for Cultural Representation: Emerging Independent Film and Video on Lesbian Desires.” Futures of Chinese Cinema Technologies and Temporalities in Chinese Screen Cultures. Eds. Khoo, Olivia and Sean Metzger. Chicago: Intellect, 2009. Print.
—. ” Lesbian Spaces in Hong Kong.” The Routledge Handbook of Sexuality Studies in East Asia. Eds. McLelland, Mark and Vera Mackie. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2015. 218-29. Print.
—. “Popular Dialogues of a “Discreet” Nature.” Asian Cinema 10.1 (September 1998). Print.
—. “An Unruly Death: Queer Media in Hong Kong.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 18.4 (2012): 597-614. Print.