Dr Eva Li

Lecturer in Sociology (Media and Cultural Studies Team)

Professional Role

I am a global media researcher with research interests spanning fandom and audiences, East and Southeast Asian popular culture, gender and sexuality, queer Asian and queer Sinophone studies, and diasporic media of Hongkongers.

My research centres around two interconnected areas: (1) queer media and fandom in East and Southeast Asia, and (2) gender/sexuality and everyday practices. Additionally, I am researching diasporic Hong Kongers and their self-representation media consumption experiences in the UK.

The primary focus of my research is to examine the intricate relationship between media texts, audiences, producers, and the consumption and appropriation processes. My research examines the dynamics of power in everyday social interactions and through structural inequalities, examining both on-screen portrayals and lived experiences. Despite the growing diversity in gender and sexual representations in Global Asia, I am particularly interested in studying how these visual representations have or haven't, empowered audiences, influenced individual gender and sexual practices, and transformed structural inequalities. My research approach is qualitative, empirical, and decolonial.

Currently, I am working on my first monograph, titled The Middle Gender: Resistance against Gender Binary in Sinophone Asia, which is based on my award-winning PhD research.

I have been a member of the editorial board for Media, Culture and Society since 2020. To date, I've edited the themed special section 'Mediating Gender in Digital China: Post-2020s Discourse and Representation', and co-edited themed sections 'Encounters with Western Media Theory' and the ongoing 'Rethinking Keywords in Media and Cultural Studies during and beyond COVID-19.'

I have been interviewed by various international media outlets on issues related to gender representation in UK reality TV, government regulations and the Chinese entertainment industry, queer media in Hong Kong, as well as the new Hong Kong migrant community in the UK.

Between 2021 and 2023, I served as a core task force member of the ESRC-NSTC-funded Taiwan-UK Sex, Gender, Sexual Minority (SGS) Health Research Network (TUSHRN). During this time, I co-organised an international online symposium and conference that brought together health researchers across the globe to foster cross-national collaboration in LGBTQ+ health research. In April 2023, I was invited to visit Taiwan, where I met with key stakeholders in the local LGBTQ+ community, participated in discussion panels, and delivered guest lectures on qualitative approaches to LGBTQ+ health and well-being research. Outputs I produced for this network included an article on the geopolitics of queer archives (co-authored with Wen Liu; currently under review) and a podcast on queer cultures in Hong Kong and Taiwan. You can find more information about TUSHRN at: https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/research/centres-projects-groups/tushrn#welcome

Since 2023, I have been a member of the ESEA (East and Southeast Asian) Online Hub. Together with others, I will be creating a public education video for the ESEA Heritage Month online resources.

I co-founded and co-convene the cross-faculty research network Fan Studies Lancaster.

I have extensive experience working with community partners and advocacy groups, and I have delivered public lectures and workshops on topics related to queer media and the LGBTQ+ communities. Some examples of organisations I've worked with include the QTI Coalition of Colour at Cambridge, Queer China UK, Formosa Salon, Queer Asia (SOAS), Queer@King's, and Asia-Art-Activism.

I'm interested in supervising PhD projects in the following areas:

  • Fandom and Participatory Culture
  • Transnational Asian popular culture
  • Queer Sinophone studies
  • Yuri/GL (Girls' Love) media in Asia
  • Centre for Alternatives to Social and Economic Inequalities
  • Centre for Gender Studies