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Media and popular culture in Asian cities

Offer semester
1st semester

Lecture time
Thursday 7pm – 10pm

Lecture venue

Course description

This course addresses the social, political, and cultural dynamics of the modern communication media – TV, film, music, radio, the press, and other new media technologies – and their impacts on popular culture in Hong Kong and other Asian cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo, and Singapore. It enables you to critically examine how media and popular culture construct our identities, shape everyday life, and generate public debates.

Topics include the media; sex and violence; consumption and youth cultures, romance and gender identity; regimes of body management; desire and social identities; lifestyle distinctions and social hierarchy; on-line communication and cyber personas; media events and imagined communities; new media and technologies; and the commercialization of arts.

Course learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Grasp some key concepts of media studies and popular culture;
  • Analytically engage in the current academic debates over mass media and popular culture in Asian societies;
  • Demonstrate an awareness of and reflect on the impacts of popular culture and mass media in modern societies; and
  • Apply the basic concepts and theoretical perspectives to an analysis of popular culture and
  • media in Asian societies.


Class Participation20%
Group Presentation20%
Reflective Journals25%
Individual Essay35%

Required reading

There is no textbook for this course. However, the following titles will give you a comprehensive review of the current debates on media studies and popular culture in Asia.


Berry, C., Liscutin, N. and Mackintosh, J.D. (eds.) Cultural Studies and Cultural Industries in Northeast Asia: What a Difference a Region Makes. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Curran, J. and Park, M. (ed.) (2000). De-westernizing media studies. London, New York: Routledge.

Erni, J.N. and Chua, S.K. (eds.) Asian Media Studies. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Fung, A.Y.H. (ed.) (2013) Asian Popular Culture: the Global (dis)continuity. London; New York: Routledge.

Iwabuchi, K. (ed.) (2004) Feeling Asian Modernities: Transnational Consumption of Japanese TV Dramas. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Lo, K.C. (2005) Chinese Face/Off: The Transnational Popular Culture of Hong Kong. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Course co-ordinator and teachers

Student view

This course trained me to reflect on popular culture in multidimensional ways and made me realise popular culture can be a tool for uncovering historical and social context.

– Vien T, year 2 MSocSc Media Culture & Creative Cities student