Alternating States: Queerying Non/Binary Gender in Qing Dynasty Zhiguai

Thomas William Whyke, Melissa Shani Brown

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This is the second chapter in this book to explore somatic instability: here we discuss zhiguai tales that represent changes in gender. That characters naturally transform from one gender to another destabilises gender as an unalterable identity, and situates gender transformations as a facet of nature. We trace out a variety of patterns present in these tales—some depict changes more positively than others. Women transforming into men, for example, is depicted far more positively than men transforming into women—part of a wider pattern where such changes are treated as forms of reward or punishment, respectively. We finish with an exploration of tales which more radically trouble gender as a binary state.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalgrave Series in Asia and Pacific Studies
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePalgrave Series in Asia and Pacific Studies
VolumePart F1303
ISSN (Print)2662-7922
ISSN (Electronic)2662-7930


  • Gender in Chinese literature
  • Genderqueer
  • Intersexuality
  • Ji Yun
  • Non/binary gender
  • Pu Songling
  • Queer theory
  • Transgender
  • Yuan Mei
  • Zhiguai

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Alternating States: Queerying Non/Binary Gender in Qing Dynasty Zhiguai'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this