Yen Jen Chen

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PhD Student

Yen-Jen Chen is a Ph.D. Student in Media Studies at UT Austin. He completed his BA in Theater Studies at National Taiwan University of Arts and MA in Taiwanese Literature and Culture Studies at National Taiwan University. In his Master’s thesis, titled “Towards Queer Absurdity: The National and Sexual Politics of Contemporary Popular Culture in Taiwan,” he queerly appropriates Albert Camus’ concept of absurdity to propose the notion of what he call “queer absurdity” as a critical model that explains how the “feeling of absurdity” works as a survival aesthetic form shared by minorities to resist normativity. As the first master thesis that theorizes queer within the Taiwan context, his thesis won the Master thesis Award from both the Cultural Studies Association, Taiwan and National Museum of Taiwan Literature, and he revised parts of his thesis into a journal article published in Cultural Studies Quarterly. For his doctoral research, he aims to critically investigate the cultural and political implications of contemporary online queer performances and to place media studies in conversation with diverse fields, including queer theory, East Asia studies, critical theories, postcolonial studies, and oceanic discourse to explore the possibilities of queer solidarity in the Chinese-speaking world.