Category Archives: mass and popular culture

Speaking back to Techno-Orientalism (a partial syllabus)

From my class attempting to move the inquiries of Techno-Orientalism beyond the study of English-language writers – here’s parts of the syllabus I got to teach this quarter to a motivated set of students at UCR. I wrote this (and am … Continue reading

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The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction by Walter Benjamin

Benjamin, Walter. “The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction.” Illuminations: Essays and reflections. Hannah Arendt, ed., Harry Zohn, trans. New York: Schocken, 1969. pp. 217-252. For Benjamin film can provoke/train the masses, and this is his answer … Continue reading

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The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception

Theodor Adorno and Max Horkeimer, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception” in Dialectic of Enlightenment The upshot of mass culture for Adorno and Horkeimer is that, due to the reach of captialism, the culture industry penetrates everywhere, creates its … Continue reading

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Discourses of the Vanishing: modernity, phantasm, Japan by Marilyn Ivy

Ivy, Marilyn. Discourses of the Vanishing: modernity, phantasm, Japan.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. Ivy’s amalgam of cultural theory, anthropological research, and cultural criticism investigates peripheral sites she sees as vanishing “displacing Japanese ‘culture’ as a stable signification.” (21) … Continue reading

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Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals by Azuma Hiroki

Azuma Hiroki. Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals. Trans. Jonathan Abel and Shion Kono. Minnesota UP, 2009. Azuma theorizes otaku as posthistorical, specifically inspired by Kojieve’s Introduction to the Reading of Hegel where he sees US culture as animalistic as it is … Continue reading

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Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation by Susan Napier

Napier, Susan. Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation. New York: Palgrave Macmillian, 2001. One of the first long-format works that critically engaged with anime in a critical way, focusing on its narrative aspects (rather than … Continue reading

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Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams: Japanese Science Fiction from Origins to Anime

Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams: Japanese Science Fiction from Origins to Anime. Edited by Christopher Bolton, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr, Takayuki Tatsumi.Minneapolis:University ofMinnesota Press, 2007. Pp. xxii+269. $20. Although no single work can ever completely and thoroughly inform a reader of … Continue reading

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Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque: The Living, Dead, and Undead in Japan’s Imperialism, 1895-1945 by Mark Driscoll

Driscoll, Mark. Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque: The Living, Dead, and Undead in Japan’s Imperialism, 1895-1945. Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2010. Mark Driscoll attempts to (along with other contemporary scholarship) explain “the mutually constitutive nature of the colonial periphery and … Continue reading

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Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times. Mirriam Silverberg

Silverberg, Mirriam. Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2009. Instead of definition of erotic as pornographic, grotesque as malformed or unnatural, and nonsensical as silly (and thus meaningless), Silverberg redefines … Continue reading

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Understanding Popular Culture. John Fiske

Fiske, John. Understanding Popular Culture. London; New York: Routledge, 2010. Fiske is arguing for a strategy of looking at popular culture from the ground up, suggesting that those who consume the products of mass culture do so in ways that … Continue reading

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