What can popular culture – in the form of television shows, films, comedy, spoken word, music, fashion, blogging, news media and memes – tell us about the place of Asian Canadians in local, national, continental and transnational contexts? How and why has the cultural representation of “Asian Canadian” changed over time? What are the material implications of such changes?

ACAM250 – Asia Canada and Popular Culture examines popular culture as a site in and through which Asian Canadian identities and collectivities are produced. The depiction of Asian Canadians in diverse realms of popular culture, including pop culture created by Asian Canadians themselves, will be used as an entry point into our examination of Asian Canadians’ socio-economic conditions, histories and political communities. Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of popular culture in producing Asian Canadians as racialized, gendered, classed and sexualized subjects, as well as the complicated agency in negotiating, contesting, consuming, reproducing, repurposing and otherwise participating in popular culture. We will also consider the transnationalisms of Asian Canadian popular cultures and their relationships to multiple nation-building projects, diasporic and migratory circuits, and global socio-economic and political formations.

Dr. Mila Zhou is an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at UBC. Her research interests include contemporary Asian and transnational cinemas, film philosophy, acting and performance studies, star studies, digital and new media, and critical theories of gender, sexuality, and race and ethnicity. Her research can be found in Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theoryCelebrity Studies JournalJournal of Chinese CinemasFeminist Media Histories journal, and in various anthologies. Her forthcoming book Vulgar Beauty: Acting Chinese in the Global Sensorium focuses on the affective world-making of global Chinese women film stars. In addition to her scholarly work, Zuo writes, directs, and produces narrative films, visual essays, documentaries, and music videos. Her short film Carnal Orient (2016) premiered at Slamdance Film Festival and has screened in numerous international film festivals and universities. Zuo’s forthcoming narrative short Kin was the recipient of the 2019 Oregon Media Arts Fellowship.

*Please note that ACAM 250 does not go towards the minor because it’s not a 300/400 level class.


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