An advertisement in state media that shows Chinese stone lions bowing to a Toyota causes angry Chinese bloggers to post digitally altered images of the ad. After Japanese right-wing activists land on contested islands in the East China Sea, China’s internet erupts with angry posts that culminate in violent riots across the PRC. The internet is believed by many to herald a cosmopolitan age where the flow of diverse information will educate and empower users. The Chinese case defies these expectations, especially where online representation of the Chinese nation are concerned. Nationalism, in China as much as elsewhere, is today shared through digital information and communication technologies. It is adopted, filtered, transformed, enhanced, and accelerated through digital networks. What is more, nationalism in digital spheres interacts in complicated ways with nationalism "on the ground." If we are to understand the social and political complexities of the 21st century, we need to ask: what happens to nationalism when it goes digital? In this talk, Florian Schneider explores the issue of digital nationalism in online discourses and networks in China. Dr. Schneider's lecture will look at digital China first hand, by exploring what search engines, online encyclopedias, websites, hyperlink networks and social media tell us about the way different actors construct and manage a crucial topic in contemporary Chinese politics: the protracted historical relationship with neighboring Japan.
Florian Schneider, PhD, Sheffield University, is Lecturer for the Politics of Modern China at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies. He is managing editor of the academic journal Asiascape: Digital Asia and the author of Visual Political Communication in Popular Chinese Television Series (Leiden & Boston: Brill 2013), which won the 2014 EastAsiaNet book prize. His research interests include questions of governance, political communication, and digital media in China, as well as international relations in the East Asian region. From 2013 to 2016, he has been conducting a three-year research project titled "Digital Nationalism in China," funded through a VENI grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), in which he analyses how Sino-Japanese relations are presented and discussed in Chinese online networks.
Assistant Professor Faculty Fellow Lena Scheen will be introducing Dr. Florian Schneider.
This lecture is co-sponsored by Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai.
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