24 May 2012
Venue: Room 501 (Pat Hanan Room), Arts 2 (Building 207)
Host: Sarina Pearson
Pacific transgender has long captured the erotic and intellectual imagination of Western writers and academics (Wallace 2003a:1). In addition to being liberally exploited as exotic spectacle, gender liminality in the Pacific has provided a number of opportunities to critically interrogate how masculinity and femininity are constructed and performed (Mageo 1992, 1996), gender’s relation to kinship, status and sexuality (Mageo 1996; Besnier 2002, 2004, 2010; Schmidt 2001, 2003) and transgender as a dynamic phenomenon deeply embedded in tradition but increasingly implicated in modernity (Sua’ali’i 2001; Besnier 2002, 2010; Alexeyeff 2008; Mageo 2008, Schmidt 2001, 2010). Frequently defined by its incommensurability with Western regimes of sexuality and identity (Pulotu-Endemann & Peteru 2001), Pacific transgender is nevertheless increasingly implicated in the West, not just because Western idioms, practices and symbols figure in events such as Tongan fakaleiti beauty contests (Besnier 2010) or drag competitions in Rarotonga (Alexeyeff 2008), nor because of the role that Pacific transgender may have played in historical metropolitan constructions of European sexuality (Wallace 1999, 2003), but because Pacific transgendered performance is part of the contemporary theatrical and televisual repertoire in ‘Western’ sites such as New Zealand.
Dr Sarina Pearson is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies. Sarina has published journal articles and book chapters on Hollywood’s representation of the Pacific and the representation of diasporic Pacific communities in New Zealand film and broadcast media. She has also published on the representation of Asians in New Zealand and comparable post-colonial sites. Her research interests include the cultures of everyday life, particularly the representational regimes around food and food related media. She has also researched global flows of capital, labor, and talent in the screen production industries. Sarina has produced films and television. She was associate producer for the 3 part television documentary series The Meaning of Food for PBS (2005). Her narrative projects include several short films including: Fleeting Beauty (2004), Clean Linen (2006), and Coffee & Allah (2007). She was also a series creator, producer and director of A Thousand Apologies, a 6-part Pan Asian Sketch Comedy Series on TV3.