Casey James Miller, “Inside the Circle: Queer Culture and Activism in Northwest China” (Rutgers UP, 2023)

After the end of the Maoist era in the People’s Republic of China, the rise of queer communities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has generated growing public and academic attention. Drawing on over a decade of ethnographic fieldwork in northwest China, Casey James Miller offers a novel, compelling, and intimately personal perspective on Chinese queer culture and activism. 

In Inside the Circle: Queer Culture and Activism in Northwest China (Rutgers UP, 2023), Miller tells the stories of two courageous and dedicated groups of queer activists in the city of Xi’an: a grassroots gay men’s HIV/AIDS organization called Tong’ai and a lesbian women’s group named UNITE. Taking inspiration from “the circle,” a term used to imagine local, national, and global queer communities, Miller shows how everyday people in northwest China are taking part in queer culture and activism while also striving to lead traditionally moral lives in a rapidly changing society. The queer stories in this book broaden our understandings of gender and sexuality in contemporary China and show how taking global queer diversity seriously requires us to de-center Western cultural values, historical experiences, and theoretical perspectives.

Casey James Miller is Assistant Professor of anthropology at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He receives his PhD degree in anthropology from Brandeis University. His work focuses on the intersections between queer anthropology, medical anthropology, and the anthropology of Chinese culture and society.

Yadong Li is a PhD student in anthropology at Tulane University. His research interests lie at the intersection of the anthropology of state, the anthropology of time, hope studies, and post-structuralist philosophy. More details about his scholarship and research interests can be found here.

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