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Post-MandarinMasculinity and Aesthetic Modernity in Colonial Vietnam$
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Ben Tran

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823273133

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823273133.001.0001

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Autoethnography and Post-Mandarin Masculinity

Autoethnography and Post-Mandarin Masculinity

(p.21) Chapter 1 Autoethnography and Post-Mandarin Masculinity

Ben Tran

Fordham University Press

Chapter 1 elaborates upon the relationship between the native intellectual’s vexed masculinity, analyzing reportage as a form of bodily knowledge indicative of the post-mandarin’s uncertain sexuality. The chapter focuses on Tam Lang and Thạch Lam’s writings on prostitution, a recurring theme in Vietnamese reportage. These native male chroniclers persistently gazed at commercial sex workers who were sexually intimate with European men. The prospects of such liaisons were threatening in so far as they gave Vietnamese women access to modern culture, while the male Vietnamese observers remained excluded from modernization, despite their active pursuit of modern knowledge. The chapter argues that reportage is not merely a case of the colonized subject writing back against the colonizer, but that it also points to the post-mandarin’s ambiguous masculinity and authorial predicament in the triangular relationship between the European male figure and the Vietnam sex worker.

Keywords:   autoethnography, commercial sex, masculinity, reportage

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