Monday, April 4, 2016

Cold War Panels at AAS, Seattle 2016

During the Association for Asian Studies conference this year (Seattle, 2016) one of my goals was to attend panels that focused on the Cold War. I have an article in progress that deals with Hong Kong/Taiwan film during the era, so I'm particularly interested in the state of current research on this topic.

Of course, it's not possible to attend all of the panels that address a given topic, and at times interesting panels are scheduled at the same time. And I don't intend to use this forum to critique, or provide a comprehensive state of the field; rather, I just want to record a few highlights and impressions that will likely stay with me for some time following the conference.

On Friday morning, the "Framing Devices: Cold War Manga/Manwha and Popular Media in Japan and Korea" panelists collectively did a marvelous job identifying ways visual texts in new mediascapes "forged in Cold War geopolitics" portray bodies that are ethnicized, nationalized, gendered, at times sensualized, and displayed under a surveillance regime.

The "More than a Mouthpiece: Media Culture in Cold War China" panel, chaired by Jerome Silbergeld, featured presentations on: The Chinese Student Weekly and youth magazines in Hong Kong from 1952-1960 (Poshek Fu); the communal nature of TV viewing in 1970s China (Nicole Xincun Huang); the adaptation of a US television show in China in the early 1980s (Yinyin Xue), and Radio Culture in Cold War Hong Kong (Xiaojue Wang). The panel as a whole reminds one to keep in mind the intersection of multiple media cultures when analyzing the period. For example, as Xiaojue Wang presented, Wong Kar-wai's film In the Mood for Love (2000) includes Cold War-era radio as an important part of its soundtrack.

Saturday's "East Asian Intervention in the Cold War" panel included a presentation by Evelyn Shih on adaptations of 007 films into spy comedies. Examples of these adaptations, one from Taiwan and one from Korea, show the ways that Cold War espionage narratives became the source of humor even as their stories and characters mirrored regional and global conflicts.


Multiple presentations included "Cold War" in their titles; however, below is a list of panels that contained "Cold War" in their panel titles:

38. Framing Devices: Cold War Manga/Manwha and Popular Media in Japan and Korea

163. More than a Mouthpiece: Media Culture in Cold War China

223. “Cure the Sickness to Save the Patient”: Rescuing Thought Work from Cold War Ideology

273. East Asian Intervention in the Cold War: Breaking the Cultural Codes of Race, History, Genre, and Gender

331. Roundtable: JAS (Journal of Asian Studies) at AAS: Contemplating the Cold War in Asia

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