The Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies (CAPSTRANS) at the University of Wollongong in Australia regularly runs a seminar program to disseminate current research on the Asia Pacific region.
Our next seminar will be held on the 5th of April 2006 from 12.30-2pm at the University of Wollongong, Building 19, Room 1003 and all are welcome to attend. Our speaker will be Dr Mark McLelland on the topic "Discussing ‘Race’ on the Japanese Internet: the Case of 2-channeru". Here is an abstract of the paper:
"Much English-language research into the Internet that discusses "our" use of the medium assumes an Anglophone "we" (that we are all English speakers – native or otherwise) and that the Internet itself is primarily an Anglophone medium. Given the current language makeup of the world's online population, this is an increasingly unhelpful perspective and in the case of languages like Japanese is extremely distorting. Although Japanese is the Internet’s fourth most populous language group (after English, Chinese and Spanish), it does not function as a language of diaspora, or as a lingua-franca among diverse peoples with common cultural ties and backgrounds; on the contrary, it is argued that Japan's digital face is largely exclusive to the Japanese.
This paper investigates Japan’s notorious “2-channeru” (Channel 2) BBS, one of the world’s most visited Internet sites. One “board” is analysed in particular, that dedicated to debate about “race”, in order to investigate the relationship between the Japanese language and the “Japaneseness” of the participants. Lisa Nakamura’s (Cybertypes) contention that the Internet is “a place where race is created as an effect of the Net's distinctive uses of language” is taken as a starting point to investigate the differences between Japanese and Anglophone racial categories and to draw attention to the particularities of racial discourse in this virtual Japanese space."
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