“Adapting K-pop idol shipping to Thai media: The emergence of queer idol celebrity fandom in Thailand” @ ASAA 2022 (July 8th)

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Thai BL idols Tay (left) and New (right) at their 2022 fan meeting “Polca The Journey”

I am very excited to share that I will be presenting more of my research into Thai BL at the 2022 Conference of the Asian Studies Association of Australia. While I was initially going to be attending in person, unfortunately due to a positive case of COVID I will now be presenting virtually.

My presentation, entitled “Adapting K-pop idol shipping to Thai media: The emergence of queer idol celebrity fandom in Thailand,” is scheduled for 9am on Friday 8th, 2022.

Here is the abstract:

In recent years, Thailand has witnessed the emergence of a vibrant new queer popular culture fandom centred on the handsome young male actors appearing within ‘Boys Love’ (BL) television dramas. In this presentation, I draw upon my longitudinal ethnographic investigation of Thai BL and its fandom to elucidate how the adaption of K-pop fan practices have facilitated the development of new forms of celebrities in Thailand. Through my digital ethnography of Thai BL fans active on social media, I elucidate how young women have adopted the practices of K-pop idol fandom. Via a case study of one Thai production company’s celebrity promotions, I demonstrate how producers are borrowing strategies pioneered by Kpop companies to construct celebrity couples that are explicitly designed to be ‘shipped’ together. I subsequently argue that the adaption of K-pop fandom practices to Thailand has energised a ‘BL Machine’ that is queering the broader Thai mediascape.

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