Spring 2009

Asian Studies Colloquium: Asia Pop!

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-31


Timothy J. Van Compernolle (Section 01)
Paola Zamperini (Section 01)


A close study of a focused topic that has broad significance in Asian Studies. Normally to be team-taught by two faculty of the department. The approach will be multidisciplinary; the goal of the course will be to explore a subject of interest in Asian Studies that also has suggestive implications for issues in the humanities and social sciences. How do globalization and post-modernity alter how we must think of cultural production? How do we grasp the seeming contradiction between the movement of people, images, and technologies without regard for national borders, on the one hand, and the increasing fragmentation of the world into enclaves of difference? As a way to frame such issues, this course will examine popular culture in China and Japan. Paying due attention to the local meaning of popular culture and to its export to and reception in other countries, we will study such varied forms as kung fu films, anime, television, manga, toys, music, fashion, sports, and mass-produced art, in order to grapple with topics such as the transnational flow of cultural products, the cultural coding of commodities, gender construction, the otaku phenomenon, the commodification of political icons, the impact of technology on subjectivity and the body, and millennial visions of utopia and dystopia. We will also examine select examples of popular culture in other countries in Asia. Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Professor Van Compernolle. Professor Zamperini.