Xin Huang

Position title: UW System Fellow (2015-2016)

Women's and Gender Studies, UW-Milwaukee

Portrait image of Xin Huang

Gendered Self in the Digital Era: Digital Photography and Auto/biographic Representation

The widespread usage of digital cameras and smart phones has transformed photographic practice and its role in the study of individual lives. Traditional chemical photography and digital photography are produced, compiled, and shared in significant different contexts, and these differences have a profound impact on the relationship between photography and the auto/biographical representation. My project explores how the changing materiality of digital photography affects women’s auto/biographical photo practices, and the opportunities and challenges this brings to the study of women’s lives. In particular, I will compare the representation of the gendered self in personal digital photography and traditional photography, based on the personal photo albums I collected in China from women who lived through the Mao era. This research is part of a larger project entitled “The Taming of the Maoist Women: Changing Representations of Gender In China in Personal Photo Albums”, which analyzes the visual/bodily manifestation of gender as recorded in personal photo albums and women’s narratives about them.

Xin Huang is an Assistant Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies at UW-Milwaukee. Huang received her Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in Women’s and Gender Studies in 2010. Her main area of research is gender and sexuality in contemporary China, particularly the representation of gender and sexuality in oral narrative and visual forms. Her work has been published in the Frontier of History in China, Ethnologies, as well as in edited volumes. She has recently finished a book project entitled “The Gendered Legacy of Mao: A Study of Women’s Live Stories in Contemporary China,” and is at work on a project entitled “Gendered Self in the Digital Era: Digital Photography and Auto/biographic Representation.”