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Workshops/Visiting Scholars

The project hopes to engage as many scholars working on topics related to women's media. We do so by offering inviting visiting scholars and creating a series of workshops and lectures in Heidelberg, and elsewhere.

1. Transcultural Encounters: Women’s Journals in Asia, a historical perspective

 

Abstract


Popular periodicals provide access to what Raymond Williams has called “actual culture” (Williams 1961:70). Scholars of the humanities are increasingly recognizing the importance of these popular media. There is, however, an important and heretofore underexplored aspect of these publications that our research will address: the coincidence of the age of the modern periodical and the dawn of global communications. Our objective is to place Asian popular journals in this global context. The workshop will be based on close readings of several seminal women’s journals in Asia, published in the first decades of the 20th century, but from a transcultural perspective. This appears crucial, as these publications were the direct product of global influences. Most of their editors, contributors, and illustrators had been exposed to foreign publications either while studying abroad or at foreign-run institutions at home. As a result, the format of these journals often mirrors that of foreign publications. Approximately 30-50% of the content of the journals was taken directly from foreign sources. In addition to direct translations, references to foreign heroes, practices, and events appear in close to 90% of the materials, and conceptual paradigms are often foreign-derived, too: professional Asian women are conceived in terms of their foreign counterparts, Asian film stars in terms of Hollywood. Of critical importance as well, the highly hybridized language of the journals was internationally inflected with foreign loan words and phrases, as well as foreign-influenced grammatical forms. It is to these elements and their transcultural dynamics that we will turn.

- 2013 Joan Judge

 

-2013/14 Yu Chien-ming

 

- 2014 Lien Ling-Ling, Paola Zamperini & Louise Edwards


2. (G)Localizing the New (Wo)man: Contemporary Franchise Journals in China and elsewher

Abstract


International (wo)men’s magazines like Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan have transgressed the borders of their countries of origin since the late 1980s, with a new boost of launches since the turn of the century. India and China have become evergrowing markets for these journals while circulation numbers as well as advertising sales of these magazines in the US and in Europe have decreased. This project will aim to explore and compare contemporary franchise magazines for women and men in India and China (Elle, Vogue, GQ, FHM, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping) in the last decade (2000-2010). What is their relation to and their influence on homegrown magazines (Femina India, New Woman India, Women’s Era, Gloria, Zhongguo Funü, Funü zhi you, Jiating)? How do they localize? How are local contents and visualizations in these magazines connected to transcultural trends in fashion, beauty, cosmetics, leisure and lifestyle? What are the differences in Chinese and Indian localizing strategies and which historical and social basis effect the magazines’ development? In how far do intense global influences draw ever new boundaries between self and other, between Westerners and Asians, between men and women? How are lifestyles and leisure activities affected? How important is capital as the perpetuator of media flows with regard to franchise magazines? The transculturally informed analyses of contemporary Asian (wo)men’s magazines which we will undertake in this project will enable us not only to understand transcultural flows/trajectories within the mediascape but also to trace their connections with and dependency on the finanscapes. Furthermore, this research will begin to rethink the paradigms set in feminist theories of women’s magazines, and the construction of gender in women’s magazines more generally by studying men’s and women’s images/representations in correlation to each other.

 

- 2014 Lien Ling-Ling, Paola Zamperini & Louise Edwards


- 2014/15 Susan Brownell

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