Genealogies of the Self
This chapter argues that queer culture is not a byproduct of a globalizing liberal-pluralism. Rather, queer culture offers an intervention in the liberal ideology of self-invention that informs both the model minority myth and the discourse of the East Asian economic miracle. According to the liberal ideology, Asian Americans’ and Taiwan’s economic success demonstrates that racism, imperialism, and colonialism have no lasting effects on underdeveloped countries like China, which only suffer from their own reluctance to adopt Western values and capitalism. This chapter interprets the novel Song of Dreams as an example of a queer-Marxist “genealogy of the self” that constructs a freely desiring subject who is actually determined by a US-controlled zone of commodities. In this tale of a self-invented woman’s struggles for financial and sexual freedom, the protagonist momentarily appears to be the architect of her own destiny, only to succumb to the legacy of her past as she faces the dehumanization effects of capitalist modernity.