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.

Research talk by Dr. Silvia Lindtner

Making subjectivities: How China’s DIY makers remake industrial production, innovation & the self

Date & time: 29 July, 11:30–  12:30 PM

Venue: CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33, 11 Computing Drive, Singapore 117416

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About the talk

In this talk, Lindtner shows how the visions and practices of DIY (do it yourself) making are taken up in China. She analyzes, in particular, how DIY maker ideals of open-ness, resourcefulness and individual empowerment are formulated in relation to China’s political discourse of building a creative society. To demonstrate, she draws from my ethnographic research that traces the set-up of China’s first hackerspace to the proliferation of making through a growing number of hackerspaces, events, and partnerships between makers and manufacturers. China’s makers are driven to remake what creativity and industrial production mean today, both exploiting and challenging political rhetoric. By setting up hackerspaces, designing open technologies and starting up businesses, they enable alternative subject positions, for themselves and others. The contribution of this work is three-fold. First, it fills a gap in prior research by providing an account of a culture of technology production. Second, it proposes the analytical lens of “making subjectivities” to open up the concept of the online identity or netizen to include the use and design of technologies as central to crafting heterogeneous positions in society. Third, it demonstrates that makers alter the system from within, contributing to our understanding of the relationship between technology use, production, society, and the state.

About the speaker

Silvia Lindtner is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Irvine and at Fudan University. She studies DIY maker culture, with a focus on its intersections with manufacturing and entrepreneurialism in China, expressions of selfhood and collectivity, and globalized processes of labor. She brings together ethnographic methods with design methods, actively participating in the technology production she studies. Her interdisciplinary work contributes to and draws from STS, information and communication studies, digital media studies, design, and cultural anthropology.

CNM at FASS Open House, May 18

By Mary Lee

On May 18, CNM participated in the FASS Open House with newly expanded and rationalized module offerings that attracted a lot of attention from hundreds of prospective students and their parents at the CNM booth and talk.




Apart from fielding queries about the new module offerings, CNM staff, faculty, alumni, and students, particularly those from CNM Society, also spent much of that Saturday sharing the department’s extra-curricular initiatives, student exchange and career opportunities with clusters of A-level and polytechnic graduates flocking to the faculty open house.




The waves of interested students continued rolling into the evening as CNM Head, Professor Mohan Dutta, gave a talk to a full house of audience at LT13 in the late afternoon. Going by the exchanges at the talk, the department can expect to receive a group of informed and enthusiastic freshmen in August.




CNM was among the 17 departments and programmes in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences that welcomed students and parents to the faculty open house this year.


Research Talk by Mr. Joshua Wong

Title: Video Games for Inter-Religious Empathy.

Date and Time: Wednesday, 20 March, 3:00 PM

Venue: CNM Meeting Room, AS6, #03-33, 11 Computing Drive, S117416, FASS, NUS

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Religious diversity and religious pluralism is a growing trend in the world today. There is an increasing need for people to develop an understanding and appreciation of the religious faiths of their peers, neighbours and co-workers. Are there ways in which new media technologies – particularly video games – can contribute to inter-religious understanding? Video games, with their ability to offer complex simulations of real-life situations, present a perhaps unique medium for people to experience life in another person’s shoes. In this talk, I outline the ways in which video games can help build inter-religious empathic understanding, and then present a case study of player reactions to a simulation game which placed people into a worldview very different from their own.

About the speaker:

Joshua Wong recently graduated with a Master of Arts Degree in Communications and New Media. He designed his first board game when he was 12, and has since gone on to develop many other games both as a hobbyist and as a professional. He was part of the team that created CarneyVale: Showtime, an award-winning game now available on PC, Xbox360 and mobile. His research interests lie in the intersection of video games and religion, values-based design and affective technologies.


Research talk by Dr. Ingrid M.Hoofd

Simulating Climate Change: Beyond the ‘True’ or ‘False’


Date & time: Wed, 21 November, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Venue: CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33, 11 Computing Drive, NUS

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About the talk

This paper argues that the anthropogenic climate change model is the product of the acceleration of the humanist aporia, and is as such an hypermodern enactment of traditional environmentalism. It claims that climate science and activism illustrate the contradiction internal to humanism, because their assumption is that certain human activity is responsible for our ecological crisis, while simultaneously calling upon similar human action and debate to avert this crisis. This paradox shows that our era of technological acceleration, while exceedingly challenging the primacy of technological innovation, still affirms an overconfident image of the human in its very attempt at critiquing human mastery of ‘nature.’ The paper in turn argues that this aporetic logic generates a simulation of climate change in the media. This simulation is certainly ‘real,’ but is moreover an allegory for our era of acceleration and its economic instability. This paper therefore claims that the division into ‘for’ or ‘against’ the reality of anthropogenic climate change eventually dissimulates the more fundamental problems facing humanity today, and that much contemporary environmental activism and debate fails to sufficiently deepen its critique vis-à-vis the raised stakes under acceleration.


About the speaker

Dr. Ingrid M. Hoofd is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Her research interests are Issues of Representation, Feminist and Critical Theories, and Philosophy of Technology. Her work addresses the ways in which alter-globalist activists, as well as left-wing academics, mobilize discourses and divisions in an attempt to overcome gendered, raced and classed oppressions worldwide, and the ways in which such mobilization are implicated in what she calls ‘speed-elitism.’ This work explores in particular the intersections between various forms of contemporary political activism and the oeuvre of Jean Baudrillard and Paul Virilio. Ingrid wrote her Masters thesis on Cyberfeminism at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. She has been involved in various feminist and new media activist projects, like Indymedia, Next Five Minutes, HelpB92, and NextGenderation. More on  She recently published “Ambiguities of Activism: Alter-Globalism and the Imperatives of Speed”.

Research Talk by Dr. Kevin McGee

Making a difference in a world where I am reified as the White Man’s gaze: Re-imagining the research, design, and development of empowering intelligent technologies as ongoing transformative co-enaction


Date & time: Wed, 14 November, 3:30 – 4:30 PM

Venue: CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33, 11 Computing Drive, Singapore 117416, NUS

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About the talk

This talk may bring together a diverse set of concepts and concerns with the goal of outlining a radical (and academically unsupportable) research agenda. It may also involve unfamiliar terminology and concepts, contradictions, irreconcilable goals, a cursory exploration of issues mentioned in the title of the talk, and some seemingly irrelevant YouTube videos. In the best-case scenario, it will involve all these things; in the worst-case scenario, at least there will be the YouTube videos.


About the speaker

Dr. Kevin McGee is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Communications and New Media, and the Deputy Director (Research) for the Keio-NUS CUTE Center, at the National University of Singapore. He also leads the Partner Technologies Research Group which does research to develop computational partners that facilitate and increase participation in life’s interesting and important challenges. This involves theoretical and applied work at the intersection of end-user programming, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, design methods, media studies, and the arts.

CARE&SHARE seminar by Dr. Kang Sun


Manufacturing Identity: Peasant Workers’ Spatial Prodution in China

Date: November 15, 2012 – Thursday

Time: 11:30AM – 1:00PM

Venue: CNM Meeting Room, AS6 – 03/33



About the talk

Kang’s research examines the social production of Chinese peasant workers through their experiences in factories for electronic parts manufacturing in Shenzhen, China. While the social production of identity is widely accepted, what constitutes “social” is often vague. In many discussions of identity production, media representations and discursive construction are taken as all there is for a “social” production process of identity.However, by tracing the changes in the laborers’ living and working environment back to their trans-local material formations, Kang demonstrates how the transnational capital production process must be realized through the lived trans-local experience and negotiation of exploitation and domination.

Kang argues that the wage system and the living spaces of the laborers form trans-local territorial structures of exploitation and spatially controlled social reproduction, which participate in a broader possibility of class identity production in its most detailed everyday social material relations.


About the speaker

Dr. Kang Sun received his Ph.D. from the School of Media and Communication at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), Ohio in 2012. His dissertation examined how a globalized political economy, the trans-local mobility of people, and the spatial arrangements in cities all participate in the social construction of the identity of peasant workers as China’s new working class. Kang’s primary research interests include health communication, modernization and urbanization, migration, working class, and labor, material and social space, and political economy and development communication.


This is a brown bag seminar, so please feel free to bring along a packed lunch. Further enquiries about the event may be made here.