Block 2 Globalization and Popular media

Block 2 Globalization and Popular Media

This block looks closely at how identities and histories are represented in global popular media, focusing on the ways in which gender, racial, and ethnic differences are incorporated and recombined to appeal across national and cultural boundaries. Examples we will use to consider this process and its sociocultural implications come from television, film and popular music: Oprah’s recent visit to Australia; Hollywood remakes of Asian horror films; and the transnational circulation of identity and representation in hip hop. Students will learn how to perform close readings of primary media texts, while taking into account their specific production and reception contexts.

For the block as a whole here are some recommended texts for further reading:

ArjunAppadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, University of Minnesota Press, 1996.
John Tomlinson, Globalization and Culture, University of Chicago Press, 1999.
Marwan Kraidy, Hybridity, or the Cultural Logic of Globalization, Temple University Press, 2005.
Toby Miller et. al., Global Hollywood, BFI Publishing, 2001.
Carolyn Jess-Cooke and ConstantinVerevis, eds. Second Takes: Critical Approaches to the Film Sequel, SUNY Press, 2010.
Stephen Chan, Remade in Hollywood: The Global Chinese Presence in Transnational Cinemas, Hong Kong University Press,2009.
Bill Mullen, Afro Orientalism, University of Minnesota Press, 2004.
S. Craig Watkins, Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement, Beacon Press, 2005.

---We are NOT looking for one style or approach. Please find your own voice. We are not looking for polished ‘best answers’, but creative and interesting contributions to discussion. Contact your tutor if you are confused or anxious.


Week 6) – 13 April The Oprah Effect: Is Globalization American? (Sean Fuller)

In this week, we will examine the ways in which Oprah seems to epitomise what Joseph Nye has called the ‘soft power’ of identities, images and ideas in contemporary processes of globalisation. How are Oprah’s race and gender as well as her celebrity persona and the neoliberal, therapeutic narratives of her show to be decoded in the Australian context? To what extent does Oprah’s visit to Australia and the media discourse surrounding it affirm and/or trouble the notion that globalization is ultimately a form of US cultural and economic imperialism? The lecture raises questions about the flow of US cultural products and media more broadly. Above all, is globalization to be thought of as Americanization?

Example:Oprah episode in Sydney, air date: Dec. 14, 2010

Required reading:
Smith-Shomade, Beretta E. “You’d Better Recognize: Oprah the Iconic and Television Talk” in Feminist Television Criticism, ed. Charlotte Brunsdon and Lynn Spigel. Open University Press, 2007. 111-138.

Week 7) – 20 April Outside the West: The Korean Wave in the ‘Asian Century’ (Yunji Park)

This session continues to consider globalisation but outside US and western frameworks by looking at the increasing visibility of Korean popular culture on the world stage. What social, economic, and cultural factors have led to the globalisation of Hallyu, or the ‘Korean Wave’? How might we interpret this trend in light of the growing international popularity of non-western, and especially Asian-based, film and popular media cultures, such as manga and anime, Hong Kong action films, Korean TV dramas, and Bollywood musicals? To what extent do the cross-cultural flows between these various media suggest alternate forms of globalisation?

Examples: Shiri(1999)

Required Readings:
Iwabuchi, Koichi. 2010. ‘Globalization, East Asian Media and their Publics.’ Asian Journal of Communication. 20(2): 197-212.

Week 8) – 27 April Afro-Asian Hip Hop: Representing Hybrid Masculinities.

This week we turn to popular music to further explore the different cultures and identities that constitute American media writ global. Originally a subculture created by working-class African-American and Latino youth, hip hop has become incorporated into dominant global culture even as it continues to inspire marginalised youth all over the world. We will look at ways in which Asian Americans are visible within hip hop media scapes. How do their performances speak to and with the Afro-orientalism that permeates this culture? What forms of cultural hybridity do these cross-cultural flows between African- and Asian-American hip hop musicians draw on and promote for global audiences? We will also consider different iterations of hip hop culture beyond the United States, including their various investments in space and place.

Examples: Music videos for “Learn Chinese” and “ABC” by Jin

Required reading:
Thien-baoThuc Phi, “Yellow Lines: Asian Americans and Hip Hop” in Fred Ho and Bill Mullen, eds. Afro Asia: Revolutionary Political and Cultural Connections Between African Americans and Asian Americans (Duke University Press, 2008), pp. 295-320.