Came back from a super interesting workshop. Looking forward to the second half tomorrow. Here is my soundbite from a little ‘game’ we played.
Hello, my name is Yenn Lee. I am an expert in digital fandom culture in South Korea and the possible toxicity of it. I am an expert because I have been embedded in that culture for almost three decades (28 years, to be precise), obtained a PhD on the topic 12.5 years ago, and have been researching and writing about it for almost two decades (19 years, to be precise).
Generally I feel a little hesitant with seasonal academic humblebrags, but here is one from me this year. It fits this category perfectly too, as I first pitched the idea to the journal in Feb 2020, just a few weeks before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and the first wave of lockdowns around the world kicked in, and it finally came out in the world last week. In other words, the whole cycle of production coincidentally reflects the pandemic timeline and how we somehow soldiered through it, although none of us thought we would still be in the woods…
The collection sheds light on the digital experience of people on the move or caught between nation-states and ultimately poses the question of how we can create more inclusive models of digital democracy in Asia and beyond. Obviously we did not anticipate the passing of the Nationality and Borders Bill in the UK, nor did we schedule the issue to be released around the International Migrants Day, but anyway, here we are.
I would like to thank all the authors, reviewers, and the Managing Editor and other colleagues in Asiascape for their invaluable contributions. Now, to paraphrase Sheldon, everyone needs to read it. 🙃
Donald Trump has now been permanently suspended from Twitter and indefinitely banned from Facebook and Instagram, among other platforms, leading to a cacophony of public comments on free speech, digitally facilitated fascism, and the roles and responsibilities of social media companies in democratic governance. Many scholars in my field appear to be particularly frustrated, as they have been studying and voicing caution about these implications for years.
Well, perhaps not to that extent, but I have written a few papers around these subjects myself, and I thought I’d highlight one in particular, in a sort of here-is-my-SoundCloud way. In 2017, my colleague Alison and I identified four directions of travel with regard to free speech in the digital era.
Weaponisation of beliefs, opinions, and “alternative facts”
Content sharing as a speech act
Privatisation of censorship
Deliberate ambiguity, voluntary invisibility, and self-censorship as a strategic repertoire
At one point during the lockdown, I subtitled a Korean superhero animation film in English. Not my usual gig, but I had to do it. Yes, the director is someone I know personally and admire, but the real-real reason was that my namesake features as a complex villain in it. Could be my alter ego. 😈
A team of colleagues have just released a report that shares the findings and policy recommendations from their six-year-long project “Re/presenting Islam on Campus“. I wasn’t part of the original team, but I became quite closely involved in the project over the last two years and, in the end, named in several places of the research outputs.
The report has attracted a lot of media attention and heated debate within the span of a week alone. Too much to archive here, so I am just gonna list some of the pieces written by the team.
Here is a quick guide I have been asked to write for colleagues at my university who suddenly have to find a way to conduct their fieldwork remotely. Some details are quite specific to SOAS, but I hope the overall idea is applicable more broadly.