East Asian Languages and Cultures | Popular Culture in East Asia
E110 | 15090 | Robinson


This course studies contemporary popular culture in East Asia.  It
is also about the nature of popular culture itself.  Thus the course
provides an introduction to the fascinating, contemporary cultures
of China, Japan, and Korea while it also focuses on the structure
and processes that have both produced and globalized mass culture
itself.  We will study the issue of globalization and how the
transnational flows of commodities and culture affect local
societies and individual identities, a process that also applies to
our own culture and society. Contrary to the pessimistic thesis that
bemoans the flattening effects of Western mass culture upon the non-
Western world, this course will focus on how East Asian societies
have synthesized and re-positioned what might be thought of as
Western culture and created hybrid forms that carry new, authentic
meanings and identities.  The same process holds for our own popular
culture; we can observe many examples of Asian cultural forms that
have worked their way into American popular culture.  In the end, we
hope to emerge from this course with a new understanding of today’s
truly global culture. In addition to extensively thinking about the
question of just what the concept of popular culture means, there
will be modules in the course that examine contemporary historical
trends in East Asian film, visual culture (painting and
printmaking), and food culture.