Cobus van Staden Featured

Senior Lecturer

(Honours Coordinator)

I was appointed as a lecturer in Media Studies at Wits in 2013. Before that I was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Johannesburg’s South African Research Chair for African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, and the Department of Political Science and the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University. From 2008 to 2011 I worked as an investigative reporter and TV director at Special Assignment. I completed my PhD in Media Studies in 2008 at the University of Nagoya in Japan.


PhD in Media and Film Studies (University of Nagoya, Japan, 2008)
MA in Media Studies (University of Nagoya, Japan, 2005)
BA Honours in Language (University of Johannesburg 1998)


My research focuses on trying to expand the thinking about the influence of media on the relationships between countries. My postdoctoral work has focused on Japan and China’s contrasting models of media diplomacy in the developing world. My main case study is Africa and the research has led me to realize how much the spread of East Asian media depends on African media systems. I am currently working on a book-length project comparing Japanese and Chinese approaches to public and media diplomacy in emerging markets, with special reference to Africa. This focus on cultural flows to Africa also draws me into debates on cultural globalization. While cultural globalization has frequently been characterized as the spread of pop culture and commodities from the West to the rest of the world, the real situation is much more complex. In my PhD dissertation entitled “How this World Works: Anime, Capitalism and the Global Audience” I looked at the frequently overlooked role of Japanese animation in the history of cultural globalization. I have since conducted a series of investigations into the processes that brought East Asian pop culture to Africa and published them in a series of book chapters and articles, with a few more coming up.

My focus on globalization is increasingly focusing on the emerging global role of Chinese media. Much Chinese media expansion in emerging markets has taken place in the field of 24-hour TV News. I have done research on the representation of China and Africa by China Central Television’s African division, and I am currently expanding this research to delve deeper into how African audiences react to representations of China in Chinese state-owned media.



Forthcoming (2017) “Helper and threat: How the mediation of Africa-China relations complicates the idea of the global south” in Iqani, M. and Resende, F. (eds) Media and the Global South: Narrative Territorialities, Cross-cultural Currents.

Forthcoming (2017), “Hong Kong and Japanese Media in South Africa” in Mine, Y. & Cornelissen, S. (eds.) Migration and Agency in a Globalizing World: Afro-Asian Encounters, Routledge.

Forthcoming (2017), “Media as a Site of Contestation in China-Africa Relations” (co-authored with Yu-Shan Wu), Alden, C. & Large, D. New Directions in the Study of Africa and China, UK Social Sciences Research Council

Forthcoming (2017), “Japanese Cultural Globalizations at the Margins: Towards a Method” in Fujiki, H. and Phillips, A. (eds.). The Japanese Cinema Book, British Film Institute.

Forthcoming (2017), “Withdrawn: Anime Fans in South Africa and Japan” in Ebrahim, H and Ellapen, J. (eds.) Mzanzi at the Movies, UNISA Press.

2015. “Chewing on Japan: Japanese Public Diplomacy and Kenny Kunene’s Nyotaimori Incident” in Iqani, M. & Kenny, B. Consumption, Media and Culture in South Africa: Perspectives on Media Freedom and the Public. London: Palgrave MacMillan.

2011. “The Golden Glow of the Alps: Anime Reimagines Europe” in Chan, F. (et al) (eds.) Genre in Asian Film and Television: New Approaches Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 178-193



2013. Electric Shadows: Media in East Asian/African Relations. Special edition of African East-Asian Affairs, Issue 1 March 2013. This is a new journal focusing on Asia-Africa relations. It is currently awaiting DHET listing, but it is quite prominent in the China-Africa research community.



2017 “Watching Hong Kong martial arts film under apartheid”, Journal of African Cultural Studies 29:1, 46-62 (ISI listed, peer reviewed.

2015 “Chewing on Japan: Japanese Public Diplomacy and Kenny Kunene’s Nyotaimori Incident”, Critical Arts 29:2, 107-125 (ISI listed, peer reviewed).

2014 “CCTV’s Global Outreach: Questioning the Audiences of China’s ‘New Voice’ on Africa”, Media International Australia, No. 151, pp.81-88, co-authored with Gorfinkel, L., Joffe, S., & Wu, Y.S. (ISI listed, peer reviewed

2014, “Moomin/Mūmin/Moemin: Apartheid-Era Dubbing and Japanese Anime” Critical Arts 28 (1), pp.1-18. (ISI listed, peer reviewed)

2013, “Applying East Asian Media Diplomacy Models to African Media: A First Step” Africa Insight 43(2), pp.27-40. (IBSS and DHET listed, peer reviewed).



2016. “Michal Daliot-Bul: License to Play: The Ludic in Japanese Culture.” Journal of Consumption, Markets and Culture 19:3, 308-310.



April 2017 “Haunting the past, haunting the future: China-Africa and the West” Chinafrika Conference Procedural and Exhibition Catalog

2017 “Pechina avanza perché noi non sappiano più osare” Revista Italiana di Geopolitica 1/2017.145-151

2014. “Virality, Diplomacy and the Uses of Media: A Historical Comparison of Hong Kong and Japanese Media in South Africa”. Proceedings of the GRM International Conference, Doshisha University, July 26-27, 2014.

2014. “Using the Internet to Teach China-Africa Relations: The China-Africa Project in the Seminar Room” African East-Asian Affairs, No. 3, pp.54-69 This is a new journal focusing on Asia-Africa relations. It is currently awaiting DHET listing, but it is quite prominent in the China-Africa research community.

2013. “Editor’s Introduction” in Electric Shadows: Media in East Asian/African Relations (special edition of African East-Asian Affairs, Issue 1 March 2013.) pp.1-14

2013. “Lonely Nights Online: How Does Social Networking Channel Chinese Migration and Business to Africa?” with Lu Jinghao, in Electric Shadows: Media in East Asian/African Relations pp.94-116

2010. “Mutations in Moominvalley: Globalization, Capitalism and the Cultural Identity of Fiction” in Niskanen, E. (ed) Imaginary Japan: Japanese Fantasy in Contemporary Popular Culture (International Institute for Popular Culture Publication Series 3), 2010, pp. 26-29.

2009. “Heidi in Japan: What do Anime’s Dreams of Europe Mean for Non-Europeans?” in the 50th Anniversary Newsletter of the International Institute for Asian Studies.

2008. “Arupusu no Kin’iro na Kagayaki: Bunkateki Gurōbaruka to Yōroppa no Imēji” in Special Proceedings of Nihon to Furansu: Nikokukan Seminaa.

2007. “Loudmouth: Global Capitalism, Local Culture and Kureyon Shin-chan” in Tagen Bunka. This is a Japanese journal of multidisciplinary cultural studies.

2006. “Exporting Stories: Global Capitalism, Narrative Design and Anime” in Iconics, Volume 8. Iconics is the international edition of the Journal of the Japanese Society of Image Arts and Sciences and is well-respected in Japan.



March 2015, “Putting Africa First” New African, pp.14-15

November 2014, “Adaptive engagement: China’s approach to Southern Africa”, World Politics Review,

October, 2014, “The impact of Chinese media provision in Africa: Diplomacy, profits and the West”, Oxford Analytica.



18-20 August 2016. ““Exploring the limits: emerging spaces between scholar and practitioner” Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network Conference, Nairobi

27-28 May 2016. “Hong Kong and Japanese Media in South Africa” Workshop: Migration and Agency in a Globalizing World: Afro-Asian Encounters. University of Stellenbosch

24-26 March 2015. ’BOYCOTT ALL ASIAN COUNTRIES’: Wildlife Poaching, Internet Activism, and China-South Africa Relations. Africa’s Asian Options (AFRASO) Conference, Cape Town.

12-14 December 2014. Complicating Kung Fu: The 1980s VHS revolution and the construction of ‘China’ in late-apartheid South Africa. Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Conference. Jinan University, Guangzhou, China.

8-10 October, 2014. Chewing on Japan: Japanese public diplomacy and Kenny Kunene’s nyotaimori incident. 4th International Symposium on Communication and Consumption. Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

3-5 September, 2014. China-Africa social media as nested sites of contestation: Implications towards a method. International Symposium on China’s Soft Power in Africa: Emerging Media and Cultural Relations between China and Africa. University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China

26-27 July 2014. Virality, diplomacy and the uses of media: A historical comparison of Hong Kong and Japanese media in South Africa. Asia/Africa Entanglements Past and Present Conference. Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan

4 November, 2013. Japanese and Hong Kong media globalization in Africa. Africa/Asia Entanglements Past and Future Conference. Stellenbosch University.

12-14 June 2013. Land of Plenty: CCTV’s vocabulary of positive images, Imagining Globality: China’s Projects in Culture, University of Alberta, Canada

9-10 November 2012. Soft power and the niche: Animax and the complications of cultural diplomacy. Consumer practices, media and landscapes in South Africa: Empirical and theoretical perspectives. University of the Witwatersrand.

12-13 September 2012. Dressed up and dreaming: Male anime fandom in South Africa. Work/Force: South African masculinities in the media. University of Stellenbosch.

5-7 July 2012 Pencils down: Animax, Japanese pop culture and the limits of cultural capital. South African Visual Arts Historians Conference. University of South Africa.

18-20 September 2008. Mutations in Moominvalley: Globalization, Capitalism and the Cultural Identity of Fiction. Imaginary Japan Conference. Helsinki in September 2008.

7 December 2007. “Arupusu no Kin’iro na Kagayaki: Bunkateki Guroobaruka to Youroppa no Imeeji” (“The Golden Glow of the Alps: Cultural Globalization and Images of Europe”) presented at Nihon to Furansu Nikkokkan Seminaa: Guroobaruka de Henka suru Nichibutsu no Kokka Aidentitii, Jendaa Kankei, Shakai Kakusa. (Japan and France: A Seminar on Globalization’s Impact on National Identity and Societal and Gender Relations in a Bi-National Context) in Nagoya, Japan.

9-11 October 2006. Loudmouth: Global Capitalism, Local Culture and Kureyon Shin-chan. The Trans-Asia Screen Cultures Conference. Seoul.

18 May 2006. Safely Strapped In: Commodity Capitalism, Cultural Globalization and Gundam. The International Conference on Asian Comics, Animation and Gaming. Toronto.

29 July 2005. Exporting Stories: Global Capitalism, Narrative Design and Anime. Cultural Typhoon conference. Kyoto.

10 July 2005. Exporting Stories: Global Capitalism, Narrative Design and Anime. Kinema Club International Conference on Japanese Film. Tokyo.


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