Introduction: Buddhist Sexual Contemporaneity
This chapter investigates how contemporary Thai cinema makes Buddhist elements available to queer and feminist interpretation and introduces the notion of a Thai Buddhist sexual contemporaneity. It further parses the concept of Buddhist melancholia and shows how adaptations of Buddhist notions of impermanence thread through and tie together the domains of sexuality, policy, and cultural production in contemporary Thailand. It reviews how women’s and queer sexualities are currently overdetermined by notions of negativity in social and cultural policy, psychiatry, and religious discourses. Against this background, contemporary Thai cinema deploys karmic, soteriological, and other Buddhist conceptualizations of negativity to reconfigure women’s and queer personhood and to point to alternate visions of justice by and for minoritized persons.