Our spring sale is on! Use promo code SPRING24 at checkout to save 50% on any order!

Offers new understandings of gender construction and nation-building through the lens of recent Chinese television programs.

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Gendering Chinese Nationalism
2. (Post-) Television in China: Entertainment and Censorship
3. Anti-Japanese Dramas and Patriotic Patriarchy
4. “Straight-Man Cancer” and “Bossy CEO”: Sexism with Chinese Characteristics
5. Foreign Men and Women on the Chinese TV Screen
6. “Little Fresh Meat” and the Politics of Sissyphobia
7. Womanhood and the Many Faces of Chineseness


The serial narrative is one of the most robust and popular forms of storytelling in contemporary China. With a domestic audience of one billion-plus and growing transnational influence and accessibility, this form of storytelling is becoming the centerpiece of a fast-growing digital entertainment industry and a new symbol and carrier of China’s soft power. Televising Chineseness: Gender, Nation, and Subjectivity explores how television and online dramas imagine the Chinese nation and form postsocialist Chinese gendered subjects. The book addresses a conspicuous paradox in Chinese popular culture today: the coexistence of increasingly diverse gender presentations and conservative gender policing by the government, viewers, and society. Using first-hand data collected through interviews and focus group discussions with audiences comprising viewers of different ages, genders, and educational backgrounds, Televising Chineseness sheds light on how television culture relates to the power mechanisms and truth regimes that shape the understanding of gender and the construction of gendered subjects in postsocialist China.

Geng Song is Associate Professor in the School of Chinese at the University of Hong Kong.

Televising Chineseness is well-conceived, well-executed, and highly readable. Scholars and students of China studies, television studies, gender studies, cultural studies, and nationalism studies will find this book highly appealing and useful.”
—Faye Xiao, University of Kansas

- Faye Xiao, University of Kansas

“Song’s examination of gender roles, China’s imagined and real relationship to the Other, patriotism, nationalism, and globalization is poignant and insightful. This engaging study of popular entertainment from a leading scholar in masculinity studies and TV studies gauges the temperature and mood of an increasingly diverse body of mainland Chinese spectators, consumers, and citizens.”
—Sheldon Lu, University of California Davis

- Sheldon Lu, UC Davis

"Song convincingly maps how Chinese state media conditions its audience to guard its national identity. Recommended."


"Televising Chineseness is an impressive academic text with adroitly put arguments. It not only offers meticulous analyses of the history and contemporary situations of China’s television and other media industries, Chinese audience and fan cultures, and rising issues concerning the Chinese cyber environment and offline social realities but also provides readers with rich details and useful information on Chinese popular culture and media communication in general."
Critical Asian Studies

- Critical Asian Studies

"The accessible writing in this book is admirable, and Song deserves praise for the manner in which the televisual material in the seven chapters in lucidly and meticulously analyzed. The narrative flow is remarkable and makes for a read that is enjoyably informative, especially for readers who are familiar with the television series under discussion."
The China Journal

- Dennis Bruining

"[T]his book overall is a thoughtful, intriguing, and important analysis of Chinese television. We highly recommend it to students, scholars, and the public interested in critical media studies."
China Information

- Tingting Liu and Yuting Yang

"Televising Chineseness: Gender, Nation, and Subjectivity offers a fresh perspective on the intersection of gender and queerness in Chinese television research. This work will encourage Chinese readers to re-examine their perceptions of television in China and rethink how the government manipulates media to create cultural propaganda." 
--Europe-Asia Studies

- Xingyi Li

Challenging stereotypical assumptions through nuanced analyses, it penetrates the mist and fills significant gaps in scholarship on gender, power, and television. Well-structured and theoretically refined, the book does not stop at tracing interesting televisual plotlines but delves into some intricate social and political "plotlines" beyond the texts."
--Nan Nu: Men, Women, and Gender in China

- Fan Xiong