PARGC Lecture: "In the Shadow of Official Ambition: National Cultural Policy Confronts Global Media Capital"

Inaugural PARGC Distinguished Lecture in Global Communication
19 Sep 2013 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Annenberg School for Communication, Room 109

The Project for Advanced Research in Global Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication presents the Inaugural Distinguished Lecture in Global Communication

“In the Shadow of Official Ambition: National Cultural Policy Confronts Global Media Capital”   Delivered by Michael Curtin
University of California, Santa Barbara
About the lecture:
Since the 1990s, market liberalization and new technologies have accelerated the transnational flow of media imagery, much to the delight of Western conglomerates that have expanded their operations and exports around the globe. This has, of course, raised anxieties in countries that find themselves ever more vulnerable to a flood of foreign movies and television programming. Yet Hollywood is no longer the only major exporter of audiovisual media, having been joined by thriving competitors, such as Mumbai, Lagos, and Miami. Animated by the commercial logic of “media capital,” these cities are now challenging prior geographies of creativity and cultural influence, fostering tensions about the relative roles that cities and states play in local, regional, and global cultural economies.    As these transnational media capitals have prospered, some states have fought back with policies aimed at controlling imports and fostering the creative capacity of national media institutions. The People’s Republic of China is a leading example of a government that has been relatively successful protecting its “national champions” and fostering new enterprises. It has furthermore maneuvered foreign joint-venture partners—such as Disney, DreamWorks, and Media Asia—to serve its broader strategic ambition, which is to develop media industries that are popular with audiences and ultimately competitive with Hollywood. This remarkable turn in official policy over the past decade is largely premised on official suppositions that popular media have become a crucial means to exercise political and cultural leadership both at home and abroad. Yet the question remains: Can such policies be popular or will they wither in the shadow of official ambition?    This presentation explores the implications of Chinese cultural policy within the broader context of media globalization, providing a framework for understanding the logics of media capital and the challenges confronting national governments. It furthermore makes comparisons to Arab, African, and Indian media, reflecting more generally on the future prospects for creativity and cultural diversity in popular film and television.

About the Speaker:   Michael Curtin is the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Professor of Global Studies in the Department of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is also Director and co-founder of the Media Industries Project at the Carsey-Wolf Center. His books include Playing to the World’s Biggest Audience: The Globalization of Chinese Film and TV and Reorienting Global Communication: Indian and Chinese Media Beyond Borders. Curtin is currently at work on Media Capital: The Cultural Geography of Globalization and is co-editor of the Chinese Journal of Communication and the International Screen Industries book series of the British Film Institute.    Please RSVP hereFor additional information, please contact Marina Krikorian or call 215-573-8901.