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Master of Arts (M.A.)

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Chinese homosexuality, danmei literature, online gay fiction, 冲撞, national identity


During the last two decades, Mainland China has seen a rise in the emergence of homosexually charged themes in popular underground literature via the spread of the “Danmei” novel. Mandarin for “indulge in beauty,” the term refers to works of fiction centering on graphic depictions of same-sex love between two central male characters. By the late nineties, an explosion of online Danmei forums proved to be a powerful tool in circumventing government censors, and authorship (mainly by young heterosexual women) skyrocketed.

Xiao Chun’s Collide, first uploaded to the internet in 2006, swept through online message boards and reading forums to become one of the cornerstone pieces of the Danmei genre. Banned for its lascivious homosexual content, its rabid Internet consumption throughout China and Taiwan has contributed to (and, indeed, sheds light on) a wide array of observable changes occurring in the modern Chinese social landscape.

This paper begins with a brief explanation of what little is known about the author of Collide, as well as an introduction to the background of the Danmei movement. Following these sections, a discussion of the sociocultural relevance of the Danmei movement will be presented with special attention paid to the significance of female-dominated authorship and readership, to the voyeurism associated with the genre, and to the relationship between Danmei literature and changing attitudes toward homosexuality. The remaining sections will provide notes from the translator and further remarks on Collide. The analysis will conclude with a full translation of the novel.


First Advisor

Enhua Zhang

Second Advisor

Stephen D. Miller