Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi,

  • en
Conference/Presentation

Oct 201419
1:00p.m.

Japanese American Museum of San Jose
535 N. fifth Street
San Jose, California, 95112
United States

At the turn of the century, Japanese immigrant poet Yone Noguchi, the father of renown Asian American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, took a number of rather unconventional and contradictory actions. He: 

  • Wrote love letters to western writer Charles Warren Stoddard
  • Impregnated editor Leonie Gilmour
  • Proposed marriage to journalist Ethel Armes

Join us as author Dr. Sueyoshi discusses her work and the complex interaction between lived sexualities and socio-legal mores, tracing how one man negotiated affection across cultural, linguistic, and moral divides to find fulfillment in unconventional yet acceptable ways.

Dr. Sueyoshi's book, Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi unveils Noguchi's interracial and same-sex affairs to assert that Asian Americans found romantic fulfillment even within a California which was reportedly anti-Japanese and heteronormative*. Moreover, Asians and Pacific Islanders would play a critical role in defining what attraction and affection meant within America's supposedly all-white bohemian community.

Noguchi's intimate life illustrates how seemingly sex-segregated worlds of "romantic friendships" collided in desire and deception. While Noguchi's affairs seem to resist existing mores, they powerfully reflected gender, racial, and imperial realities of the time. Most notably, he manipulated race, gender, and sexuality in his quest for personal happiness.

*Of, relating to, or based on the attitude that heterosexuality is the only normal and natural expression of sexuality (Merriam Webster)

DR. AMY SUEYOSHI is the associate dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. Dr. Sueyoshi is a historian by training, specializing in sexuality, gender, and race. She has published and lectured on a number of issues regarding race and sexuality, including cross-dressing, pornography, and marriage equality.

Cost: Free with admission to the museum (non-members, $5; students and seniors over age 65, $3; JAMsj members and children under 12, free).
RSVP: Contact PublicPrograms@jamsj.org or call (408) 294-3138 to reserve a spot.

In celebration of LGBT History Month, the San Jose JACL is presenting a program immediately after ours.  At 3:00 p.m. at the San Jose JACL (Issei Memorial Building, 565 N. Fifth Street):  “Looking for Jiro Onuma: Queer Perspectives on Wartime Incarceration” featuring Dr. Tina Takemoto, explores the hidden dimensions of same-sex intimacy and queer sexu­ality for Japanese Americans incarcerated during WWII.  Seating is limited to 70. For more information call the SJ JACL office at (408) 295-1250  or email Iris Lou at inky1lou1452@yahoo.com.

 

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JAMsj . Last modified Oct 09 2014 4:53 p.m.


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