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Sara L. Friedman

Sara L. FriedmanAssociate Professor of Gender Studies and Anthropology

Send Email | (812) 856-4595 | Student Building 130


Ph.D., Cornell University, 2000


G215 - Sex and Gender in Cross Cultural Perspective
G402 - Problems In Gender Studies (Politics Of Marriage)
G402 - On the Move Across Asia: Gender, Mobility, Migration
G701 - Gender, Citizenship, and Belonging


Professor Friedman's research focuses on the relationship between political processes and intimate life in China and Taiwan. Her first book, Intimate Politics: Marriage, the Market, and State Power in Southeastern China (Harvard UP 2006), looked at how China's socialist regime sought to produce new socialist citizens through transforming intimate practices associated with marriage, labor, bodily adornment, and same-sex networks. She then went on to study how cross-cultural analyses of intimacy and sexuality challenge norms rooted in Euro-American cultures. Through an analysis of transnational film circuits, she asked whether same-sex intimacy is always perceived as sexual or whether more varied frameworks exist cross-culturally for interpreting and experiencing intimacy outside of sexual identity.

Intimate PoliticsProfessor Friedman is currently completing a project that explores new configurations of marriage, immigration, and sovereignty emerging in an increasingly mobile Asia. Her book manuscript, Exceptional States: Chinese Marriage Immigrants and the Challenges of Taiwanese Sovereignty, examines the mutually constitutive relationship between immigrant Chinese spouses and a Taiwanese nation-state seeking sovereign recognition from the international community. Through tracing parallels between the predicaments of marital immigrants from China and the uncertain future of the Taiwan nation-state, the book shows how intimate attachments and affective investments infuse the ostensibly rational and impersonal governmental practices that regulate immigration, citizenship, and sovereignty.


Professor Friedman is co-editor of the forthcoming book, Encountering the State: Intimate Labor Migrations across Asia (University of Pennsylvania Press).