1. Power on the Edge of Capital: Borders, Environment, Technology
Speakers: Brett Neilson (Professor and Deputy Director at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University), Ned Rossiter (Professor of Communication and Director of Research at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University), Manuela Bojadžijev (Professor, Institute for European Ethnology and the Berlin Institute for Migration Research, Humboldt University)
Decolonizing initiatives almost always face the predicament in which technologies of governance and dispossession generate distinctive conjunctures of state and capital. Yet how do we ascertain the specific properties and modulations of such scenes of confrontation? With precedents in the chartered companies and fragmented territorialities of the early modern era, contemporary colonial interests and rivalries do not necessarily pass through the state or only through the state. This seminar considers these dynamics from a range of angles, including data infrastructures, platform economies, border politics, financialization, patent regimes, pandemic transitions, and supply chain capitalism. With attention to shifting logics of exploitation and extraction, sovereignty and ownership, and imperium and dominium, participants will explore strategies for a decolonizing politics adequate to the present.
This seminar invites researchers to bring their ideas to the table for discussion around these topics. Drawing on writings, current projects, imagined collaborations, and accumulated debris from the archives, part of this seminar is devoted to producing a collective typology of concepts that survey and help diagnose the variegated ways in which power manifests and permeates across heterogenous experiences, conditions, and histories of colonialism. Splintered by spatial-temporal arrangements that swing between assertions of hegemony and subaltern refusal, the workshop analyses how power is constituted within the complex of borders, environment, and technology.
Brett Neilson is Professor and Deputy Director at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. With Sandro Mezzadra, he is author of Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor (Duke 2013) and The Politics of Operations: Excavating Contemporary Capitalism (Duke 2019). With Ned Rossiter and others, he is currently conducting an Australian Research Council Discovery Project titled ‘The Geopolitics of Automation.’ His writings have been translated into sixteen languages: Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Slovenian, Turkish, Arabic, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
Ned Rossiter is Professor of Communication and Director of Research at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University where he holds a joint appointment in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts. Rossiter is the author of Organized Networks: Media Theory, Creative Labour, New Institutions (2006), Software, Infrastructure, Labor: A Media Theory of Logistical Nightmares (2016), and (with Geert Lovink) Organization after Social Media (2018). His writings have been translated into Italian, Spanish, German, French, Finnish, Dutch, Chinese, Greek, Latvian, Hungarian, Turkish, and Polish.
Manuela Bojadžijev is a professor at the Institute for European Ethnology and the Berlin Institute for Migration Research (BIM), where she heads the Department for Social Networks and Cultural Lifestyles at Humboldt University Berlin in Germany. Her work focuses on the study of transformations of mobility and migration as well as of racism, in interplay with the current radical changes of work and life under conditions of digital technologies and logistification. In addition to conceptual, methodological and epistemic questions of migration research, she is interested in the “dispute over migration” in migration societies and how social changes are narrated, lived and contested in and through modes of representation of migration and flight. She also investigates current transformation processes of mobility and migration as well as racism, in interplay with changes in work and everyday life through digitalisation and logistics, predominantly in urban spaces and in geopolitical constellations. Amongst her most recent publications is the edition of the Journal-Special Issue “Patterns of Prejudice,” 2023, titled “Cultures of Rejection.”
2. Decentring Digital Media: Theorising with and from the Global South
Speakers: Heather Horst (Professor, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University), Cheryll Ruth Soriano (Professor, Department of Communication, De La Salle University, Philippines), Adam Sargent (Research Fellow, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University)
In a recent analysis of the field of digital media, Borah (2017) argues that most researchers tend to reproduce and recirculate key concepts. From “filter bubbles,” “platformization” and “fake news,” to “algorithmic cultures,” and “influencers,” concepts that have emerged in the global north have found their way into analyses of the use of digital media in other parts of the world without much critical analysis that reflects upon where the concepts came from and why they are appropriate for a particular set of practices or empirical realities. While “importing” concepts generated in other settings can be a way to promote global academic dialogue and comparison, it also tends to reproduce colonial and imperial dynamics of dependency, submission, and obedience, diminishing the importance of other theoretical frames and positioning. Inspired by recent work on decolonisation and other de-westernising movements, this seminar and discussion seeks to expand our conceptual tools and epistemologies by examining concepts with and from the global south and, in turn, the novel ways we theorize, and enact the study of digital media. The aim of the seminar is to reconceptualise the global power relations that underscore our everyday digital realities as researchers and academic practitioners.
Heather A. Horst is the Director of the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. A sociocultural anthropologist by training, she researches material culture and the mediation of social relations through digital media and technology. Her books focused upon these themes include The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communication (Horst and Miller, 2006); Hanging Around, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (Ito, et. Al 2010); Digital Anthropology (Horst and Miller, eds. 2012); Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practices (Pink, Horst, et. Al. 2015); The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography (Hjorth, Horst, Galloway and Bell, Eds. 2016); The Moral Economy of Mobile Phones: Pacific Island Perspectives (Foster and Horst, eds. 2018) and Location Technologies in International Context (Wilken, Goggin and Horst, eds. 2019). Heather’s current research, part of an ARC Linkage Project led by Dr. Denis Crowdy with the Wantok Foundation and Further Arts Vanuatu, examines the circulation of music in Melanesia through mobile technologies. She is also developing new work examining the Fijian fashion system as well as Automated Decision Making.
Cheryll Soriano is Professor of Communication in De La Salle University (DLSU) in the Philippines interested in the social and political implications of communication technologies. Cheryll is also Associate Editor of the Asian Journal of Communication and Plaridel: A Philippine Journal of Communication, Media and Society and sit in the Editorial Boards of the journals Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Communication, Culture and Critique and the Journal of Applied Communication Research. Professor Soriano explores the intersections of digital cultures and marginality– understanding the way users from political, economic, or cultural margins use new media, and how such digital media engagements facilitate social transformations and create new modes of understanding culture/politics. Her current research explores transformations in labor and organizing in the digital economy, looking at how socio-technical structures shape conditions for work and workers’ capacity to organize. Cheryll is Principal Investigator of Fairwork Philippines, a part of the global Fairwork network which seeks to advance fair labor conditions in the gig economy across the world. She is also a Partner Investigator of the Australian Research Council – funded project, Digital Transaction Platforms in Asia (led by A. Athique), which will examine the technical and commercial organization of the leading Asian transaction platforms in 8 countries in the region.
Adam Sargent is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Culture and Society. Trained in cultural anthropology, his research focuses on capitalist development, labor, infrastructure, and social inequality. He has explored these issues through research projects on construction work in India and engineering work in the U.S. His current research explores how the emergence of algorithmic credit-scoring systems is reshaping credit and livelihoods in India. This research will contribute to the Western Sydney University node of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence in Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S). His dissertation research on construction in India examined the construction site as a complex regime of exploitation, jointly crafted by global, regional, and local actors. It tracks the socio-material dimensions of worker precarity produced on the construction site and the techniques workers deploy in response. It demonstrates how everyday negotiations of precarity on the site generate the patterns of profit and exclusion that mark India’s urban transformations. He has published this research in articles featured in Anthropological Quarterly, Anthropology of Work Review, and Signs and Society.
3. Bodies, Borders and Boundaries: Reimagining the Nation State
Speakers: Michelle S. Fitts (Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University), Karen Soldatic (Professor, School of Social Sciences, and Institute Fellow, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University), Zhai Gong (PhD student, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University), Andy Chih-ming Wang (Associate Research Fellow, Academia Sinica and NYCU)
This panel brings together two sets of very different research in different spaces to reconsider the role of bodies, borders, and boundaries, and to reimagine the nation state in the settler colonial context in Australia and the cross-Strait migration in Taiwan. Whereas borders and boundaries used to be understood as fixated, physical markers, the bodies in motion—both within the nation-state and beyond—have challenged such notions of borders and boundaries and pointed us to new challenges of the nation-state in responding and adjusting to demands of justice. In Australia, the First Nations peoples can be understood as a nation within whose demands and needs are often ignored due to the settler colonial structure. Similarly, cross-Strait migrants—either for business, study, marriage, or family—in Taiwan are regarded as suspicious outsiders that reap benefits in Taiwan and pose as a potential threat to Taiwan’s security. How do we get to hear the voices of these minoritized, cross-border subjects, and understand their struggles, especially in hypersensitive times of emergencies and crises, is a critical question for the humanities and social sciences research for rethinking the meaning of the nation-state and, the role of borders and boundaries.
Fitts and Soldatic look at “knowledge translation” as a critical tool for understanding the epistemic injustice concerning First Nations Peoples in Australia. Drawing upon the theories and approaches of Indigenous scholars and critical disability studies, they hope to explore the role of research outreach through creative engagement and how that may build and develop community and service provider level knowledge surrounding the gendered nature of acquired disability for First Nations women with the continuity of settler colonial rule and gendered racialised practice of governing Indigenous peoples and communities. Gong and Wang instead look at two communities inside and outside Taiwan—the overseas Taiwanese who are ‘fidgeting’ over returning home, and the cross-Strait migrants blocked from returning to their residence in Taiwan. With an ethnographic approach, Gong and Wang consider these two communities as examples for understanding the formation of a nervous nation, challenging both Taiwanese nationalism and the sovereignty paradigm as commonly understood within dominant narratives of nation-state theories. Gong and Wang reflect on how borders and boundaries redefined bodies, rather than the reverse, operating as narrative that differentiates from Fitts and Soldatic’s paper that distils the ways that settler colonial nations remake First Nations women’s bodies-and-minds.
Though the themes are situated in very different contexts, we hope by their nonaligned intimacies, we will be able to present the limits of nation-state formation by exploring the ways in which national imaginaries understand the reverse dialectic of bodies and borders beyond the sovereignty framework.
More specific abstracts of each paper are provided below.
Contesting settler colonial states: Case studies from a program of disability research with remote and regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian communities
Michelle S. Fitts
Research is conducted on the assumption that it advances knowledge and eventually translates into the improvement of service delivery, systems and policy. Mainstream health and disability research with First Nation Peoples in settler nations have largely been void of culturally relevant, meaningful, contextual, or decolonizing knowledge. Rather, research findings have typically met the needs of the researcher first and not been acted upon in a timely way or not applied at all. Knowledge users, including community members, service providers, policy makers, patients and families, have increasingly demanded that knowledge translation generates greater and faster impact. Drawing upon the theories and approaches of Indigenous scholars such as Smylie and others, the purpose of this paper is to provide a better understanding of knowledge translation in disability research with First Nations Peoples in settler nations. Using a program of research developed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian Peoples, this paper presents two case studies. The first case study presents examples of education outreach and creative arts to build and develop community and service provider level knowledge surrounding disability and traumatic brain injury while the second case study describes how knowledge translation activities led to informing national disability and social security policy design. Guidelines are offered for facilitating knowledge translation that can respond to knowledge user suggestions as well as knowledge translation that leads to timely outcomes. This paper suggests that by engaging knowledge users in all phases of the research production process, research can lead to (i) greater ability and capacity to implement activities that action knowledge translation within research design; (ii) the production of more relevant, beneficial and appropriate research impact; and (iii) conditions under which it is more likely that research results will influence policy.
Sociologies of Inequality and Community Wellbeing: Why positioning disability at the centre of the narrative enables new understandings inequality in Australia
The impacts of Covid-19 have reminded us of the severe disparities in social inequalities that continue to thrive in our world. For so many of our community members, the experience of Covid-19 was one of repetition. First, the experience of the well-established disproportionate inequities in health and social care systems, delivery and distribution, both prevailed and often, became more entrenched for highly marginalised groups, especially for those living with disability, chronic conditions and ill-health. Second, the experience of being invisible to health and social care systems, services and the workforce because of one’s position of marginality were deepened. And third, the absence of social and political representation of our most vulnerable community members in decision making throughout the covid crises, particularly for community members who live at the intersections of racism, classism, ableism and cissexism, was persistent and unrelenting.
This paper will be driven by two core questions that will seek to explore the important role of sociologies of disability in shaping disciplinary understandings within the sociologies of inequality in a post-pandemic world. First, it asks, what role can sociologies of disability play in deepening the epistemological engagement with sociological questions of inequality? Second, it asks, how can we, as sociologists of inequality, engage in co-creating sustainable research practices to broaden out and deepen civil and political understandings of disability inequity – in both its production and reproduction – to address deepening structural relations of ableism in a post-pandemic world?
Nervous Nation: Covid Anxieties and Mainland Migrant Struggles in Taiwan
Zhai Gong, Andy Chih-ming Wang
The outbreak of Covid 19 has created a global panic about border control, which is now articulated with a series of public health measures, including quarantine, contact tracing, electronic fences, and intensive testing. These bordering practices produced in Taiwan a nervous nation, which more often than not focuses on the subjects entering the border as potential danger whose complaints about public health measures are being silenced. The silencing of these complaints derives from two major causes: a real concern about the spread of virus that will cause inconveniences in everyday life on the one hand, and a genuine attempt to support the Taiwanese government in protecting citizens from infection on the other. These responses, what we call “covid anxieties,” indicate that Taiwan, under the threat of a global pandemic, is becoming a nervous nation, one that is super sensitive to “outsiders” and “complaints.” In this paper, we will focus first on an FB online community of overseas Taiwanese. This online community was created to provide information about going in and out of Taiwan in Covid times, including sharing experiences of quarantine, testing, vaccination, as well as government measures on Covid treatment. But overtime it has become a site of fraught discussion where sharing information about Covid situation can at times turn into heated debates. The second part will look at the mainland migrants in Taiwan who during the pandemic have been subjected to unjust treatments and have since started a series of protests. We are interested in understanding how these heated debates and protests, triggered by Covid anxieties, engage in the discussion of bordering practices and the imagination of Taiwan as a precarious, porous, and nervous nation.
Michelle Fitts is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. Based in Alice Springs, she has worked for over a decade with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Her research experience is largely on multi-site projects examining traumatic brain injury, disability, alcohol and drink driving. Michelle holds an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship (2021-2024), focused on understanding the daily lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have experienced a traumatic brain injury through family violence. Prior to Western Sydney University, Michelle worked at Menzies School of Health Research and James Cook University. She remains an Adjunct Research Fellow at James Cook University.
Karen Soldatic is a Professor at the Institute for Culture and Society, School of Social Sciences at Western Sydney University whose work engages with critical questions in relation to global disability inequalities and the impact of the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly minority women with disability. She was awarded a Fogarty Foundation Excellence in Education Fellowship for 2006–2009, a British Academy International Fellowship in 2012, a fellowship at The Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University (2011–2012), where she remains an Adjunct Fellow, and an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship (2016–2019). Her research on global welfare regimes builds on her 20 years of experience as an international (Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia), national and state-based senior policy analyst, researcher and practitioner. She obtained her PhD (Distinction) in 2010 from the University of Western Australia and has published extensively in the area in the leading disability studies journals and now leads the Routledge Interdisciplinary Disability Studies Series.
Zhai Gong is currently a PhD student at the Institute of Social Research and Cultural Studies in Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu. She is working on a dissertation on the theories of resistance and the protests of cross-Strait migrants in Taiwan.
Andy Chih-ming Wang is associate research fellow at the Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, and visiting scholar at the Harvard Yenching Institute (2021-22). He works in both transpacific American literature and inter-Asia cultural studies, concerned with the interplay of literature and geopolitics. He is the chief-editor of Router: A Journal of Cultural Studies and the author of Transpacific Articulations: Student Migration and the Remaking of Asian America (2013). He also co-edited with Yu-Fang Cho a special issue on “The Chinese Factor” for American Quarterly (2017). His latest book, Re-Articulation: Trajectories of Foreign Literature Studies in Taiwan (2021), is recently published in Taipei.
4. Problematising the Emerging Techno-Capitalism in China
Speakers: Dr. Tommy Tse (Associate Professor, Media Studies Department, University of Amsterdam), Xiaotian Li (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Applied Social Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
The presentation theorises three different organisational processes that uniquely organise and normalise overwork in China’s Internet industry: coercive formalised overtime schedule, normative informal overtime culture, and disguised work-related time expenditure, work-for-labour. It reveals the ‘double flexibility’ in management strategy, namely, flexible, combined use of coercive and normative control techniques inside the company in addition to its pursuit of flexibility in employment relationships. It then theorises the pendulum movement of worker subjectivity between the ‘self-as-property’ metaphor, which justifies market competition as meritocracy and encourages individuals to polish ‘employability’ in overwork efficiently, and ‘self-as-business’ metaphor, which reflects a conventional, Marxist understanding of employment relationships. The pendulum movement is manifested in the spectrum of their workplace behaviours, ranging from the individualised psychologically distancing to the collective noncompliance and online activism. The presentation provides a dynamic understanding of labour relations through the management-labour dialogue in the Chinese Internet industry.
Tommy Tse is an Associate Professor in the Media Studies Department at The University of Amsterdam. He specialises in Asia’s media and cultural industries, consumer culture, creative labour, digital culture and fashion. His work has appeared in Information, Communication and Society; Journal of Consumer Culture; Journal of Cultural Economy; Sociology and Work, Employment and Society among others. He has worked in various media and creative companies, and previously taught at the University of Hong Kong’s Department of Sociology and Hong Kong Baptist University’s School of Communication.
Xiaotian Li is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Applied Social Sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He is a Hong Kong PhD Fellowship holder and was a visiting fellow in the Industrial and Labor Relations School at Cornell University. His research looks at the intersection of labour and gender in China’s Internet Economy. His work has appeared in The Journal of Gender Studies and has been accepted by Work, Employment and Society.
5. Tourism, Mobilities & Decolonization
Speakers: Wikanda Promkhuntong (Lecturer, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia (RILCA) and the Mahidol Migration Center Joint Research Unit), Sirijit Sunanta (Associate Professor in the Multicultural Studies Program, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University), Mary Mostafanezhad (Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environment, University of Hawaiʻi)
This roundtable will discuss the topic of the geography of Asia/ASEAN and its relationship to decolonization and postcolonial processes through the lens of tourism. The region has been positioned as a tourist destination, as well as the source of global labor that reveals conflicted geopolitics and internal colonialism in the region. In recent years, with the rise of Asian/ASEAN economies, Asian citizens have also become global tourists themselves, and even– cultural nomads. These multiple standpoints meet challenges and complications with the Covid-19 pandemic that open up new post-colonial dialogues and research agendas into critical perspectives in tourism and mobilities studies.
The roundtable explores cultural politics in diverse forms of mobilities in tourism practices, aesthetics of mobilities, and economies from an interdisciplinary perspective. Tourism is associated with modern society in which leisure and relaxation constitutes an important part of leisure. As a form of consumption lifestyle, tourism is a space in which social identities are shaped, reinforced, and transformed under unequal terms. Post-colonial intersections of gender, race, class, and nationality inform tourism as social experience, behaviors, motivations and aspirations. The production of images and place-identities are also central to tourism consumption.
As an economic sector, tourism is a livelihood for many and subject to development policies. Work in the hospitality industry is often gendered because workers are expected to embody “feminine” skills of caring and servility. In addition, the tourism industry relies on low-paid and flexible labor, provided mostly by women. The global Covid-19 pandemic gravely affects the tourism industry and reveals the precarity of those in hospitality services. Asian countries, historically viewed as tourism destinations, have recently emerged as a source growing in numbers of tourists, which raises new questions for interdisciplinary research.
The pandemic also raises questions on the future of tourism culture in relation to associated mobilities and experiences. This includes different forms of journey beyond physical visits from symbolic pilgrimages to virtual travels mediated by different audio-visual media and platforms. Spaces associated with mobilities and travels from airports, walking streets, to film locations have also undergone transitions as tourism culture evolves in the post-pandemic era of neocolonialism. Moments of stillness and suspension of travel also open up questions on cultural memories, changing rituals, narratives, and forms of travel records.
Wikanda Promkhuntong is a lecturer in the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia (RILCA) and the Mahidol Migration Center Joint Research Unit. Her research engages with East Asian cinema and different forms of border-crossing. These include the phenomenon of transnational East Asian auteurs through the lens of paratexts and participatory cultures, and the relationships between screen cultures and tourism within Thailand and Southeast Asia. Her work often explores the discourses around and practices of screen industry agents from auteur/stars, cinephiles/fans to above/below-the-line workers and the changing conditions that shaped their lives and works overtime. She has published in Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies; Journal of Celebrity Studies; Culture, Theory and Critique, and The Palgrave’s Handbook of Asian Cinema. With Bertha Chin, she co-edited the special issue for Plaridel: A Philippine Journal of Communication, Media, and Society on Fandom and Cinephilia in Southeast Asia. She has completed her PhD in Film Studies at Aberystwyth University.
Sirijit Sunanta is an Associate Professor in the Multicultural Studies Program, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, Thailand. Sirijit’s research interests include gender and migration, globalization and food cultures, and the politics of diversity in Thailand and Southeast Asia. Her current research projects focus on care transnationalization and gendered labour in the Thai hospitality industry. Examples of Sirijit’s published works are “Globalising the Thai ‘High-touch’ industry: exports of care and body work and gendered mobilities to and from Thailand” https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1369183X.2020.1711568, “German migrants in Pattaya, Thailand: gendered mobilities and the blurring boundaries between sex tourism, marriage migration and lifestyle migration” https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-030-63347-9_9, and “Gendered practices in urban ethnic tourism in Thailand” http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2017.02.004. Most recently, she contributed a chapter on “Care as right and care as a commodity: positioning international retirement migration in Thailand’s old age care regime” to the book Retirement Migration to the Global South: Global Inequalities and Entanglements https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-6999-6_10.
Mary Mostafanezhad is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her scholarship is focused on development, tourism, and socio-environmental change in Southeast Asia. She is the co-editor-in-chief of Tourism Geographies and the Critical Green Engagements Series of the University of Arizona Press.
6. China’s “One Belt One Road” Initiative: Infrastructure, Representation, and Imagination
Speaker: Fan Yang (Associate Professor, Department of Media and Communication Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
One Belt, One Road (OBOR, or Yidaiyilu) is often known in English as the Belt and Road Initiative, or the BRI. Officially launched in 2013 by China’s President Xi Jinping, it encompasses a multitude of Chinese-funded development projects around the world. With the ostensible goal to enhance the flows of trade, finance, and communication across Asia, Europe, and Africa, among other parts of the Global South, the project is aggressively promoted within China but highly controversial in the international news media, in part due to the intensifying geopolitical tensions between China and America.
This seminar asks what a cultural studies perspective can bring to the fast-expanding scholarship on OBOR in a global context, an emerging field currently dominated by economics and political science. Challenging the common misconception that OBOR is a unified state project with coherent policy objectives, the discussion will emphasize the multiplicities of actions (both state and non-state), fragmented interests, competing visions, and contradictory outcomes that emerge from the new communicative spaces and logistical networks carved out by OBOR. We will also pay particular attention to the material and ideological disparities between the Global North and the developing world in shaping the infrastructure, representation, and imagination of OBOR. As we unpack the uneven power relations that persist in constructing OBOR as a cultural artifact, we will also explore the possibilities of OBOR in contributing to the global project of decolonization amidst the entangled histories of colonialism, imperialism, and neoliberal globalization.
Fan Yang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She is the author of Faked in China: Nation Branding, Counterfeit Culture, and Globalization (2016). Yang’s scholarship lies at the intersection of cultural studies, transnational media studies, globalization and communication, postcolonial studies, and contemporary China. Her work has appeared in journals such as Cultural Studies, Theory, Culture & Society, positions: asia critique, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Journal of Asian American Studies, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, Communication+1, Environmental Humanities, among others. She is currently revising a book manuscript entitled Disorienting Politics: China, Media, and Transpacific Entanglements. Examining numerous media artifacts and processes that enact the entanglements of the two superpowers (or Chimerica), it calls for a relational politics that acknowledges the multifarious and uneven interconnectivities between people, places, media, and environment.