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Arnika Fuhrmann

Associate Professor

Arnika Fuhrmann

Rockefeller Hall, Room 340

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. in South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago 2008
  • M.A. in Languages and Cultures of the Southeast Asian Mainland, University of Hamburg 1995



Arnika Fuhrmann is an interdisciplinary scholar of Southeast Asia, working at the intersections of the region’s aesthetic and political modernities. Her work seeks to model an approach to the study of Southeast Asia that is informed by affect, gender, urban, and media theory and anchored in thorough cultural, linguistic, and historical knowledge of the region. It stresses a translocal focus that manifests in both geographically and theoretically comparative frameworks. Her book Ghostly Desires: Queer Sexuality and Vernacular Buddhism in Contemporary Thai Cinema (Duke University Press, 2016) examines how Buddhist-coded anachronisms of haunting figure struggles over sexuality, personhood, and notions of collectivity in contemporary Thai cinema and political rhetoric. In her current research project, Digital Futures: South/east Asian Media Temporalities and the Expansion of the Sphere of Politics, Fuhrmann focuses on new media and how the study of the digital allows for a perspective on the political public sphere that transcends commonplace distinctions between liberalism and illiberalism. This project intersects with her interests in the transformation of cities in contemporary Southeast and East Asia. Fuhrmann’s recent writing has appeared in Diogenespositions: asia critique, Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, and Oriens Extremus. She is part of the editorial collective of the journal positions: asia critique. Complementing her academic work, she also engages in cultural programming and works in the curatorial team of the Asian Film Festival Berlin.


  • Asian Studies
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies Program

Graduate Fields

  • Asian Literature, Religion, and Culture
  • Asian Studies
  • Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender studies



Ghostly Desires: Queer Sexuality and Vernacular Buddhism in Contemporary Thai Cinema, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2016.

Read the introduction:


Ab-normal Beauty: Horror, Homoeroticism, and Agency in Southeast and East Asian Films of Possession,” special issue on “Emotions and Ethical Life: Asian Perspectives,” Diogenes, Suwanna Satha-anand and Wasana Wongsurawat, eds. (English; French, 2016);  (Arabic; Chinese, forthcoming).

Making Contact: Contingency, Fantasy, and the Performance of Impossible Intimacies in the Video Art of Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook,” positions: asia critique, 21.4, (Fall 2013), 769–799. 

Nang Nak--Ghost Wife: Desire, Embodiment, and Buddhist Melancholia in a Contemporary Thai Ghost Film,” Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, “Translation and Embodiment in National and Transnational Asian Film Media,” Guest Editor: Bliss Cua Lim, 31.3 (Fall 2009), 220–247.

“The Dream of a Contemporary Ayuthaya: Angkhan Kalayanaphong’s Poetics of Dissent, Aesthetic Nationalism, and Thai Literary Modernity,” Oriens Extremus 48 (2009), 271–290.


Editor with Chutima Prakatwutisarn, “Haunting and Globalization,” Aksornsat: Journal of Letters, bilingual special issue, 45.1 (January–June 2013).


‘This Area is [NOT] Under Quarantine’: Rethinking Southeast / Asia Through Studies of the Cinema,” in Area Studies at the Crossroads. Implications for Science Studies, Anna-Katharina Hornidge and Katja Mielke, eds., New York: Palgrave Macmillan (2016).

“‘Wathanatham Klied Tut Ge Tom Di’: Kan Mueang Rueang Phet Khong Rath Thai Lang Pho So 2543.” (“‘The Culture of Hating Fags, Gays, Tomboys, and Dee’s’: Thai State Sexual Politics After 2000”). In Khwam Lak Lai Thang Phet Nai Sangkhom Thai (Sexual Diversity in Thai Society), edited by Naruephon Duangwiset et al. Bangkok: Sirindhorn Anthropology Center (forthcoming in Thai).


Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook “The Class II,” “The Class III” (“Bot Rien Thi Song,” “Bot Rien Thi Sam.”) Art and Words (Sinlapa Kap Thoi Khwam), pp. 45–51, Bangkok: Matichon, 2006.