Arnika Fuhrmann, the author of Ghostly Desires: Queer Sexuality and Vernacular Buddhism in Contemporary Thai Cinema, is concerned with “the social positionality of minoritized persons” (p. 17) and writes against a Buddhist-inspired pathologization of minoritarian sexuality, desire, and queer personhood in contemporary Thailand. This pathologization is rooted in a general devaluation of sexuality and desire in Theravada Buddhism that Fuhrmann labels as “Buddhist-informed negativity” (p. 2). Since “Thai modernity was never conceptualized solely as a secular modernity but always remained also a Buddhist modernity” (p. 5), Buddhist-informed negativity becomes the cultural background for a commonsensical understanding “of homosexuality and transgender positions as diminished personhood [that] evokes vernacular notions of karmically determined inferiority (p. 139)” in contemporary Thailand.

This brilliant book has much to contribute to our understanding of Thailand's contemporary sociocultural configuration beyond the confines of critical film theory and queer advocacy. Fuhrmann's transdisciplinary approach is a perfect example...

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