Gendered Exile: A Narrative of Chinese (Trans)national Adoption
- Erin O’Malley
- College of Arts & Sciences
- Student Arts Innovation Grant
Erin O’Malley will write a hybrid collection of prose, combining scholarship, creative nonfiction, and fiction, to reflect on their experience of gendered exile. In order to undertake this project, O’Malley will travel to China to visit their birth city, Kunming, and orphanage in Guangzhou for the first time. As a person who was orphaned for being female, though no longer identifies as a woman, returning to China will give them the opportunity to understand this state from more than just a theoretical standpoint: by living as an exile of gender, they will physically embody this positionality, which will be reflected in their writing. Their trip itinerary mirrors the journey their mother and grandmother made to adopt them, replicating the acts of tourism they performed. They will perform these same acts of tourism with a consideration of the implications of doing so as someone who is Chinese. At these sites, they will document their experiences by journaling and taking videos and photographs and putting these records in conversation with those of their mother and grandmother, reflecting on their position as an Asian American tourist/woman-passing person.