“Cool” Asia in a local context : East Asian popular culture in a New Zealand classroom
Citation:Kolesova, E. (2014). “Cool” Asia in a local context: East Asian popular culture in a New Zealand classroom. In G. Dodson, & E. Papoutsaki (Eds.), Communication issues in Aotearoa New Zealand: a collection of research essays (52-61). Unitec ePress
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/2760
The central issue is not only what can every discipline learn from popular culture, but also how can popular culture become a successful tool of learning for different disciplines. The fact that it is such an attractive tool of learning for students does not make it easier to answer the question of what we, as teachers of popular culture, want our students to learn and understand when we use this powerful tool in our classroom. The course East Meets West was introduced in 2003 as a part of a suite of ‘global electives’ for all students enrolled in degree level programmes, e.g. Marketing, Business Management, Sports Management, Communication Studies etc at Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand. However, the majority taking the course were Bachelor of Arts [BA] students majoring in Japanese, Chinese or European languages. Some students were choosing to study Asian languages and, first of all, Japanese language to satisfy their obsession with East Asian popular culture. Japanese popular culture certainly played a key role, but interest in popular culture from other East Asian countries was equally present. Since 2010 the majority of students enrolled in this course were students enrolled in Communication Studies. Similarly to the BA students, their interest in this course was equally determined by their previous engagement with East Asian popular culture. The aim of the course has been to explore the influence of East Asian popular culture on the Western popular culture. The main emphasis was on visual popular culture, e.g. anime, film, advertising or street fashion. However, other genres or types of popular culture were also considered.