From K-pop to Pokémon, from TV drama to video games, this course introduces you to the media and popular cultural scene in one of the most dynamic regions of the world economy today. It gives you the theoretical tool to understand and analyze these media and cultural phenomena. While acknowledging some common defining characteristics of East Asian societies, we will pay attention to the internal diversities, differences and transcultural flows within the region as well as East Asian nations’ connections to the world.
The class is divided into three big sections with each focusing one East Asian region: Greater China, Japan, and Korea (South and North). In each section, we will start with a brief introduction to the modern history of the region. Then we will closely examine the region’s current media and pop culture scene and their global impact through case studies. Some of the topics include cyber culture and video games in China; night market and food culture Taiwan; Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement; Japan’s anime culture and cat café; Korean popular music and TV drama and its global fans; and the global circulation of Japanese Manga.
By the end of the semester, you should be able to have a basic understanding of East Asian societies and cultures, critically analyze cultural trends and media events using the theories learnt in this class, and be able to engage in productive conversations with people from these societies.
08/27: Class Introduction
- Holcombe, C. (2016). A History of East Asia. Cambridge University Press. (Introduction): What is East Asia?
08/29: Introducing China (Blog Group 1)
- Holcombe, C. (2016). A History of East Asia. Cambridge University Press. (Ch 14): China
09/03 Labor Day, No Class
09/05: Politics of Cyberspace in China (Blog Group 2)
- Han Rongbin (2018) Contesting cyberspace in China: Online expression and authoritarian resilience; Chapter 4: Pop Activism: Playful Netizens in Cyberpolitics
- Evan Osnos, IT’S NOT BEAUTIFUL: An Artist Takes on the System, The New Yorker
09/10 Entrepreneurship and Creativity in China (Blog Group 1)
- Lindtner, S. (2015). Hacking with Chinese characteristics: the promises of the maker movement against China’s manufacturing culture. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 40(5), 854-879.
- Sarah Emerson, “Shenzhen’s three days with Naomi Wu, the face of the local maker scene, homegrown cyborg”, Vice Magazine
09/12 China’s Digital Economy (Blog Group 2)
- Jiayang Fan, How E-Commerce is Transforming Rural China. The New Yorkers, June 2018
09/17 Night Market in Taiwan (Blog Group 1)
- Jordan, D. K., Morris, A. D., & Moskowitz, M. L. (Eds.). (2004). The minor arts of daily life: Popular culture in Taiwan. University of Hawaii Press. (Ch 1): “Hot and Noisy: Taiwan’s Night Market Culture) by Shuenn-Der Yu
09/19 The Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong (Blog Group 2)
- Lee, L.F. Francis & Chan, M. Joseph (2015) Media and Protest Logics in Digital Era: The Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong (Introduction)
09/24: Global China (Blog Group 1)
- Hongmei Sun (2018): “Of Monkey, Human, and God: The Performance of Asian American Identity” (Ch 6) in Transforming Monkey: Adaption and Representation of a Chinese Epic
- Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese (A Comic Book)
09/26 : Media and cultural experience group presentation 1
Announce research topic assignment
10/01: Introducing Japan (Blog Group 2)
- Holcombe, C. (2016). A History of East Asia. Cambridge University Press. (Ch 11) Japan
10/03: Cat Café and Japan’s Healing Boom (Blog Group 1)
- Plourde, L. (2014). Cat cafés, affective labor, and the healing boom in Japan. Japanese Studies, 34(2), 115-133.
10/09: no-class, work on coming up with your research topic, background and questions
Assignment Due: Research topic, background, and questions (Monday, Oct 8, by 11:59pm)
10/10: Japanese Toys and Cultural Capitalism (Blog Group 2)
- Anne Allison, Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination (Ch 7), “Pokémon: Getting Monsters and Communicating Capitalism”
10/15: Global Japan (Blog Group 1)
- Anne Allison, Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination (Ch 8): “Gotta Catch ‘Em All’: The Pokemization of America (and the World)”
- Matt Alt, “The United States of Japan”, The New Yorker. May 4, 2018.
10/17: Media and Cultural Experience Group Presentation 2
Briefly Introducing Your Research Project in Class (3-4 mins)
10/22: Introducing Korea (Blog Group 2)
- Holcombe, C. (2016). A History of East Asia. Cambridge University Press. (Ch 12) Korea
10/24: Meeting at the Freedom Café to workshop research proposal
Research Proposal Due (Saturday, Oct 27th, by 11:59 pm)
10/29: K-pop I (Blog Group 1)
- Kim Suk-Young (2018) K-pop Live: Fans, Idols, and Multimedia Performance: Chapter 1
- John Seabrook, Factory Girls: Cultural Technology and the Making of K-pop, The New Yorker
10/31: K-pop II (Blog Group 2)
- Kim Suk-Young (2018) K-pop Live: Fans, Idols, and Multimedia Performance: Chapter 3
11/5: Global Korea (Blog Group 1)
- Sherri L.Ter Molen (2014).: A Cultural Imperialistic Homecoming: The Korean Wave Reaches the United States
11/7: North Korea beyond Stereotypes (Blog Group 2)
- Guy Delisle, Pyongyang: A journey in North Korea (Graphic Novel)
11/12: Veteran Day, No Class
11/14: Wrapping up Media and Cultural Experience Group Presentation 3
11/19: Individual meeting to discuss class projects
11/21: No Class, Thanksgiving Break