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.