Conference Theme: "Fearful Futures"
We have reached a moment in international history that is one of potential paradigm shift. It is a moment when a problematic, but at least blandly progressivist, pro-multiculturalist movement toward “cosmopolitanism” (as Kwame Anthony Appiah might use the term) is being threatened by a far more destructive and potentially genocidal ethno-nationalism, the ferocity of which is fuelled by economic disparity, religious intolerance and retrograde ideologies regarding gender, race and sexuality. The possible global futures we face are fearful, indeed, and in an era of information and disinformation, fake news, and hysterical polemic, are sometimes made out to be inevitable.
In this context, the arts, humanities, media and cultural studies play an important role in tracing the genealogy of the present moment, documenting it, and charting different paths forward, inviting such questions as how does culture replicate itself (or critically engage itself) in the classroom, in literature, in social media, in film, in the visual and theatrical arts, in the family, and among peer groups? How do we rise to the challenge of articulating a notion of human rights that also respects cultural difference? How do cultural representations of the environment abet or challenge the forces driving climate change? What are the roles and responsibilities of the individual activist as teacher, writer, artist, social scientist and community member? What are the responsibilities of both traditional and non-traditional media? How do we make sense of the ideologies driving hatred and intolerance, and posit different models of social engagement and organisation? Looking to the past, what do we learn about the challenges of today?
This international and interdisciplinary conference will bring together a range of academics, independent researchers, artists and activists to explore the challenges that we face in the twenty-first century. While we have every right to fear the future, we also have agency in creating that future. Can we commit to a cosmopolitanism that celebrates difference and that challenges social inequity? On our ability to answer to that question affirmatively likely hangs our very survival.
The organisers encourage submissions that approach the conference theme from a variety of perspectives. However, the submission of other topics for consideration is welcome and we also encourage sessions within and across a variety of interdisciplinary and theoretical perspectives.
Join us in 2018 in Tokyo to consider how we as educators do not only survive, but also positively thrive, in these uncertain and changing times.
The Local Context: Tokyo and Japan
We are very excited to welcome you to The Asian Conference on Media, Communication & Film (MediAsia), held this year in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, the capital of Japan, and the centre of the most populous metropolitan area on earth. Tokyo is a breathtaking place of remarkable architecture, light and colour, where hypermodern and tradition meet in a unique juxtaposition. Our beautiful conference venue is situated in the very centre of the city, near the national parliament, and between the sedate grounds of the Tokyo Imperial Palace, and the towering skyscrapers of Shinjuku.
Japan is a country with a hugely rich and influential media tradition going back a thousand years and is characterised by constant and brilliant conversations between popular and high culture and media in various forms; from the popular themed romance and action of the world’s first novel (Tales of Genji) a thousand years ago, through the mass-produced works of Hokusai and Hiroshige, and to the manga which developed over many centuries to now become a globally popular phenomenon. From the page to the screen, anime such as Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z have been widely appreciated, and their creators and directors enjoy great respect; Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away remains Japan’s biggest box office hit; underlining its immense crossover appeal. Tokyo is also the home of a strong domestic film industry that has counted some of the world’s most important and influential directors, from Kurosawa, Ozu, Mizoguchi and Ichikawa, through to Yamada and more recently Kitano and Miike. The country also has a strong and eclectic music industry, often eclipsed in the international imagination by J-pop, manufactured groups, and the associated “tarento” and “idol” industries, which hint at the darker and exploitative side of show business.
While Japan has had a strong journalistic tradition, press and media freedom has been declining recently (according to various sources such as ‘Reporters Without Borders’), and censorship and self-censorship have been increasingly documented in a context of a rising domestic political nationalism. In a country where media and political powers have enjoyed a cosy and much-criticised relationship, there remain questions about the media’s ability to hold power to account, and uncomfortable comparisons with the past.
Regardless of your field of study or areas of interest, Tokyo offers a great and exciting stage for IAFOR to hold its ninth MediAsia Conference, and we look forward to welcoming you in the autumn!
Dr Ana Adi, Quadriga University, Germany
Dr Joseph Haldane, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), Japan
Dr Virgil Hawkins, Osaka University, Japan
Timothy W. Pollock, Osaka Kyoiku University & Hagoromo University of International Studies, Japan
Dr James Rowlins, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore
Dr Paul Spicer, Hiroshima Jogakuin University, Japan
Professor Gary E. Swanson, University of Northern Colorado, USA (fmr.)
Dr Eva Rose B. Washburn-Repollo, Chaminade University, USA
Why Join an IAFOR Conference?
The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) welcomes academics from all over the world to our interdisciplinary conferences held in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. Our events provide a unique international, intercultural and interdisciplinary environment in which to hear the latest world-class research and network with leading academics, professionals and practitioners.
Our conferences are meticulously planned under the direction of prominent academics to ensure that they offer programmes of the highest level, and are supported by some of the world’s leading academic institutions, including the University of London (UK), Virginia Tech (USA), University of Barcelona (Spain), Waseda University (Japan), University of Sussex (UK), Medill School of Journalism (USA), Moscow State University (Russia) and The University of Tokyo (Japan).
By facilitating dialogue between the world’s academics and thought leaders, IAFOR has become a pioneer in providing the research avenues and visionary development solutions that are necessary in our rapidly emerging globalised world. We welcome you to engage in this expanding global academic community of individuals and network of institutions, and look forward to seeing you at one of our future events.