Research Talk by Dr. Weiyu Zhang

The fandom publics: China’s netizen-in-making


Date & time: Feb 11, Wed, 3.30pm

Venue: CNM Meeting Room, AS6 #03-33


About the talk

This paper attempts to integrate the political economic, cross-cultural and aesthetic analyses of the fandom over foreign reality TV shows in China. Drawing evidences from our months of participant observation and 23 in-depth interviews with active fans, we first provide a historical and structural review of the virtual community of such fans. Their viewing experience, as fully mediated by the Internet, is then described in details to make clear how various forces such as the state, the global capital, and the local capital mutually influence each other in interacting with audiences. A cross-cultural comparison between foreign and local shows elicited from the interviewees is presented and their own perception regarding the impacts of such shows is documented. We conclude with a discussion on how the state has to be included in our analyses of transcultural media products as well as how the views of immaterial labor vs. fan activists can be reconciled without denying each other.


About the speaker

Dr. Weiyu Zhang is Assistant Professor at the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication from Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on civic engagement and ICTs, with an emphasis on Asia. Her published works have appeared in Journal of Communication, Communication Theory, Communication Research, Information, Communication, & Society, International Communication Gazette, Computers in Human Behavior, and many others. Her recent project is to develop and examine an online platform for citizen deliberation.

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