portrait Fuhrmann

Arnika Fuhrmann

Fellow 09-10

Asian Studies / Cultural Studies / Gender Studies


Arnika Fuhrmann is an interdisciplinary scholar of Thailand working at the intersections of the country’s aesthetic and political modernities. After completing her Ph.D. in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago (2008), she took up a postdoctoral fellowship at the Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry. In September 2010 she joined the University of Hong Kong’s Society of Scholars in the Humanities as a research scholar. Recent articles have appeared in Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, Oriens Extremus, and positions: east asia cultures critique (forthcoming 2011). Her book project Ghostly Desires examines how Buddhist-coded anachronisms of haunting figure struggles over sexuality in contemporary Thai cinema. Her new research project, Under Permanent Exception: Violence, Buddhist-Muslim Coexistence, and (New) Media in the Thai South, extends her interests in sexuality and cinema into the domain of interreligious conflict. It proposes a reframing of understandings of Buddhist-Muslim antagonisms through the analysis of their quotidian, affective dimensions.

ICI Project (2009-10)

Tropical Malady: History, Minoritization, and the Thai Feminist and Queer Avantgarde

This project examines the distinct memory culture that is being constituted by a feminist and queer artistic and political avantgarde in Thailand. To do this, it undertakes a cross-media investigation of visual materials drawn from a reviving, globally circulating independent cinema and a contemporary digital avantgarde. I draw this primary archive into relation to the older visual and literary sources that it appropriates as well as to radical political writing and other materials from print and electronic media that relate to new feminist and queer aesthetic and political spheres. Taking the Thai situation as my case, I examine recent shifts in logics of minoritization and understandings of sexual embodiment in this contemporary sexual public sphere. A vital focus of the postdoctoral research concerns the ways in which queer and feminist artists and filmmakers use or refuse rhetorics of loss in a public sphere that is replete with narratives of loss concerning history and nation, and that in the past decade became the scene of increasingly restrictive state sexual politics. 

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