Of desire, the Farang, and textual excursions: Assembling ‘Asian AIDS’

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This article documents and discusses the neo-orientalist tendencies in the First World's sporadic coverage of 'Asian AIDS', with a particular focus on the localized context of Thailand. It takes the problem of 'Asian AIDS' as a critical point of articulation between a health crisis and the specific geopolitical movements of capital, tourism, and desire within the processes of globalization. In order to highlight the episodic nature of the First World's narrative about HIV/AIDS in Thailand and to witness the necessarily fragmentary quality of representation in the global sphere involving competing and constantly moving voices, I attempt to enact an imaginary dialogue in the form of what Trinh T.Minh-ha has termed 'textual excursion'. The purpose of this imaginary dialogue is to elaborate on the various strands of narratives and different levels of discourse (for example, the documentary, the theoretical, the imaginary, the political) that comprise the field of jumbled voices. As the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Pacific and Southeast Asia is taking shape around the configurations of globalist imperatives, it illuminates a dual process: the revitalization of orientalist fantasies in the global sphere and the self-orientalizing tendencies within the Asian world captured by global development. It also illuminates the necessity of addressing the problem of 'Asian AIDS' as a migrating vector. Copyright © 1997 Routledge 0950–2386.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-77
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997


Erni, J. N. (1997). Of desire, the Farang, and textual excursions: Assembling ‘Asian AIDS’. Cultural Studies, 11(1), 64-77. doi: 10.1080/09502389700490041


  • Pacific and Southeast Asia
  • Thailand
  • Global capitalism
  • Orientalism
  • Subaltern theory
  • The media


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