Joshua M. Paiz, Anthony Comeau, Junhan Zhu, Jingyi Zhang, Agnes Santiano
May 31, 2018
Ha Jin and his works have contributed significantly to world Englishes knowledge, both through direct scholarly engagement with contact literatures and through the linguistic creativity exhibited in his works of fiction (Jin 2010). His fiction writing also acts as a site of scholarly inquiry (e.g., Zhang 2002). Underexplored, however, are how local varieties of English as used to create queer identities. This paper will seek to address this gap by exploring how Ha Jin created queer spaces in his short story “The Bridegroom.” This investigation will utilize a Kachruvian world Englishes approach to analyzing contact literatures (B. Kachru 1985, 1990, Y. Kachru & Nelson 2006, Thumboo 2006). This analysis will be supported by interfacing it with perspectives from the fields of queer theory and queer linguistics (Jagose 1996, Leap & Motschenbacher 2012), which will allow for a contextually sensitive understanding of queer experiences in China. This approach will enable us to examine how Ha Jin utilized the rhetorical and linguistic markers of China English to explore historical attitudes towards queerness during the post-Cultural Revolution period. These markers include the use of local idioms and culturally-localized rhetorical moves to render a uniquely Chinese queer identity.