asiascape vistas

Techno-Culture, New Politics, and Philosophy in East Asia

Asiascape Vistas is a forum for discussion about the many and various dimensions of cyberculture found in or originating from East Asia. Its focus is on the interplay between these media and questions of politics & philosophy. Contributions are from the academic collective responsible for the core project, but other contributions will also be considered by that collective.
If you wish to contribute to Asiacape Vistas, please send an email using the form on the contact page.

New Asiascape Ops - Florian Schneider on 'The Futurities and Utopias of the Shanghai World Exposition'

In Asiascape Ops nr 7, Florian Schneider (Lecturer of Modern China at Leiden University and editor of Politics East Asia) argues that the 2010 Shanghai World Exposition "...was a large-scale attempt at political communication. This paper examines this communication process, which the Chinese government initiated as a core part of its public relations strategy for the 21st century. The paper analyses multi-media data collected at the Expo site in July 2010 to answer the questions: what futurist and utopian visions did the five themed pavilions present to visitors of the Expo, and what relevance might these visions have to our understanding of how media events like world fairs construct political discourse? The paper engages with recent research on the Expo and reviews theoretical concerns about the general power of media events to manipulate audiences. It then provides an analysis that shows how the themed exhibits provide diverse interpretations of modernity and utopian futures. These visions at times collide with the worldview that the Chinese government is trying to foster, and which is communicated throughout much of the event. Yet this is not to say that the institutional constraints and the general set-up of the Expo collapse the entire event into a monolithic discourse that re-enforce the political ideals of the Chinese authorities, or that the participants and visitors of the event are successfully co-opted into an overarching narrative of capitalist modernity. In fact, the Expo offers opportunities of utopian thought that demonstrably escape control"

The full text of the paper is downloadable from's Publication page or can be read online on Issuu.

Asiascape Ops nr 6 : Japanese Science Fiction in Converging Media

In Asiascape's newest paper in the Occasional Paper Series (Asiascape Ops), Carl Li, Mari Nakamura and Martin Roth (all three are PhD students in the Goto-Jones' project Beyond Utopia), discuss the concept of alienation in Neon Genesis Evangelion:

Neon Genesis Evangelion protagonist Shinji Ikari
Japanese popular culture, represented primarily by manga and anime, has over the last couple of decades increasingly gained popularity both within and beyond Japan. Based on the assumption that this is partly due to their distinct qualities as media of political expression, this article aims to identify and discuss some of these expressions. Focusing on the SF franchise Neon Genesis Evangelion (hereafter EVANGELION), often regarded as a landmark in the history of Japanese animation, it will trace the recurring concept of alienation through the extremely popular anime (1995), the manga (1995–2012), and the videogame Neon Genesis Evangelion 2 (2003), thus offering an insight into their commonalities as well as their differences.
    “Alienation” is a central concept in modern social and political theory, as well as in sociology and psychology, and refers to “the condition of separation or estrangement.” For Karl Marx, who developed the most influential accounts of alienation in modern social and political theory, alienation is a central critique to modern capitalism. Analyzing the situation of wageworkers in the historical context of modern society, Marx observes that alienation occurs for them in four interrelated senses in capitalist society: alienation from the very product they produce, from the act of production, from their fellow workers, and from their “species-being.” Marx sees “species-being” as the unique human attribute which distinguishes human life from that of the animals, where one’s alienation from their “species-being” in a modern capitalist society is focused through the class structure and the proletariat experience. Thus for Marx, overcoming alienation requires a change in material conditions for a historically specific class of the proletariat by way of their revolutionary activities.

The full article is available at Issuu or can be downloaded as pdf on's Publication page.