Organized Panel Session
Little seems to characterize life in the twenty-first-century more than the ubiquity of the digital. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine a world without computers and smartphones. And yet, the full ramifications of this relationship have not been accounted for. How exactly do these processes play out regionally? What does it mean to track the so-called digital turn in Asia, a location where so much of “digital culture" is not only produced but consumed?
This panel pursues these questions through an examination of digital media and culture in Asia. It takes into account a diverse range of artifacts — popular music, video games, and social media — and globalized interfaces, including online distribution platforms, streaming sites, and gamic battlegrounds across China, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the diaspora. By placing virtual sites in dialogue with geographical locations, the panel demonstrates how digital life in the twenty-first century raises new ways of thinking about nation, race, gender, and representation.
Against popular readings that have approached Asian phenomena like eSports and K-Pop as singular or even illegible to “Western” audiences, this panel generates more nuanced understandings of digital media and culture in Asia while making an argument for their broader global significance. Just as the meaning of the digital in contemporary life is often contested recognizing the seminal yet equivocal role of Asia itself as a driver of these global developments allows us to take up capacious and urgent questions about the meaning of digital identity in the twenty-first-century.