asiascape vistas

Techno-Culture, New Politics, and Philosophy in East Asia

Asiascape Vistas is a forum for discussion about the many and various dimensions of cyberculture found in or originating from East Asia. Its focus is on the interplay between these media and questions of politics & philosophy. Contributions are from the academic collective responsible for the core project, but other contributions will also be considered by that collective.
If you wish to contribute to Asiacape Vistas, please send an email using the form on the contact page.

One-day Manga exhibition & seminar

Please join us on Saturday 6 December in The Hague for a few hours of manga, art, virtual ninjas, drinks and snacks!

Admission is free and all are welcome.
For catering purposes we kindly ask that your register.

More information and registration is here:


Event announcement: New States and Societies in the Past and in the Future

The LIAS State & Society Network invites you to an exciting event on Thursday 12 June 2014, entitled New States and Societies in the Past and in the Future, with 6 PhD student presenters and 2 distinguished keynote speakers on topics ranging from garbage to church hierarchy and from Babylon to future imagination.

What can we learn from past and future states and societies today? Why should we care about their struggles, wars and transitions? What do they tell us about ours? The network’s spring event aims to address these questions by bringing together two distinguished scholars who work on the past and on the future with students from the network “State and Society” within the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies.


My State and Society (12:45 – 15: 00, Lipsius 307)
PhD students of the network give brief presentations of the states and societies they work on.

Renate Dekker-- The Social Integration of a New Church Hierarchy in Late Antique Western Thebes
Valantino Pamolango-- The Old and New Celebes (Sulawesi) - Indonesia
Martin Roth -- The State of Play
Aditi Mukherjee-- Negotiating Space: Refuge Colonies and the Indian State
Yun-An Olivia Dung -- Garbage Matters: Recycling and Wasting in Taiwanese Society
Sarthak Bagchi-- State and Society in India: a Journey from sammaan (Respect) to saamaan (Material Aspect)

Keynotes (15:30 – 18:00, Klein Auditorium, Academiegebouw)
We relocate to the Klein Auditorium of the Academiegebouw for the keynote lectures by our guest speakers. The session will be introduced and chaired by Erik-Jan Zürcher (LIAS).

Seth Richardson (Chicago) -- The Many Falls of Babylon: Anticipation, Reception and Mesopotamian State Collapse
Babylon in its day, like Rome, held a symbolic position as both the site of state collapse and as an “eternal” city.  This apparent paradox created an historical echo chamber which was productive of Mesopotamian notions of civic fragility and resilience for more than a millennium. I will try to grapple with not only the retrospective claims of reception histories of Babylon’s collapse(s), but their particular relationship to prospective evocations of state collapse in Mesopotamian thought: when is anticipation precipitation, and how?

Adam Roberts (Royal Holloway) -- Clerisies, Science Fiction and the Future of Society
In this lecture, Adam Roberts will talk about the way the two halves of his intellectual and creative life came together: science fictional thought-experiments about how society might be structured and 19th-century conceptions of 'the state' and political thinking.

Drinks (18:30 – 19:30, Grote Beer)
Please join us for drinks and further discussions in De Grote Beer, Rembrandtstraat 27.

We hope to see many of you on the 12th, for the network’s first spring event!

Martin Roth, Tero Alstola, Renate Dekker, Eftychia Milona, Daniel Soliman, Bastian Still, Caroline Waerzeggers and Erik-Jan Zürcher

Screening 'Otaku no Video' in The Hague

On Wednesday 4 June, The Nutshuis in The Hague will screen 'Otaku no Video', a 1991 comedy anime spoofing the life and culture of otaku (individuals with obsessive interests in media, particularly anime and manga) as well as the history of Gainax, its creators. The anime is noted for its mix of conventional documentary film styles, with a more traditional anime storytelling fashion.

The screening will be followed by a discussion led by manga artist and scholar Lien Fan Shen.

(please scroll down for a more detailed description of the event)

Tickets, time & location


Plot summary
Ken Kubo is a Japanese male, living quite happily with his girlfriend Yoshiko and being a member of his college's tennis team, until he meets one of his former friends from high school, Tanaka. After Tanaka brings him into his circle of friends (all of them being otaku, too: a female illustrator, an information geek, a martial artist, a weapons collector...), Kubo soon makes the wish to become the Otaking, the King of all the otaku.

He manages to create his own model kits, open shops, and even build a factory in China. Later, he loses it all when one of his rivals (who's also married to Yoshiko, who never forgave Kubo for abandoning her) takes control of his enterprise, but after Kubo and Tanaka make peace, teaming up with hard-working artist Misuzu, Kubo successfully take over the anime industry with a magical girl show, "Misty May". Ken and Tanaka create Otakuland, the equivalent of Disneyland for otaku. The story suggests Otakuland to be located in the same city of Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, as the original Tokyo Disneyland[2]. Ken and Tanaka return to Otakuland in a post-apocalyptic submerged Japan and find a robot piloted by their old otaku friends. Then they fly off to space in search of the planet of Otaku.

After the screening, Lien Fan Shen, a graphic novelist and Assistant Professor in the Division of Film Studies at the University of Utah, will discuss this docu-anime and fan culture.

Lien Fan Shen earned a Ph. D. in Art Education at The Ohio State University and an MFA in Computer Art from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Her creative work includes graphic novels, animation, and digital arts, and her research interest focuses on Japanese animation and Critical theory. Shen published five graphic novels, and her graphic novels were selected in the Golden Caldron Awards by the Government Information Office and awarded The Best Romantic Comic in Taiwan. Her animation and digital arts have been screened and exhibited in Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, and United States. Shen recently collaborated with choreographer and computer scientist to create real-time interactive digital art that combines dance performance and animated images. Their collaboration has received Center for Interdisciplinary arts and technology Research Fellowship Award.
Lien Fan Shen is currently Artist-in-Residence at Leiden University.

Date Wednesday 4 June
Time 20.00 hrs
Tickets Euro 5 (available online or at the door)
Location Nutshuis, Riviervismarkt 5, Den Haag

7 May - Workshop '(Post-)Modern Futurities: New Directions in Anthropology, Area and Media Studies'

On May 7, a workshop will be held at Leiden University on the search for new directions in anthropology regarding the study of futures.

Time: 13-17hrs
Location: Bestuurskamer (Ground Floor), Pieter de la Court gebouw, Leiden University
Followed by drinks in the Bamboo lounge (3rd floor), Pieter de la Court gebouw, Leiden University

About the workshop theme
"Futurities" or forms of the future have distinct cultural histories and habitats. The division of labor that put "tradition" (or a normative addiction to past templates) in times and places other than modernity, and the future (usually in the shape of "development" or "modernization") in an imaginary Western civilization has itself lost its credibility, but that does not mean it has passed away. Moreover, new self-indulgent classifications of the West by the West have taken its place ("post-modernity"; "reflexive modernization"; "reduction to the present"; "acceleration"; "time-space compression"; and so on). Systematic research into the forms that the future takes after the rise of commodified, "empty" time in the Middle Ages, the "open" future of prognosis and progress in the early modern period, and the epochal consciousness of the period of revolution or Sattelzeit - as theorized by Barbara Adam, Reinhard Koselleck and Jacques LeGoff, among others - is rare. Yet, diagnoses of new forms of the future after modernity abound. This workshop reviews and presents recent research into forms of the future to find out what kind of research is needed to overcome that gap.

The workshop consists of four presentations from two,
NWO funded, Leiden research projects: the "The Future is Elsewhere" project led by Peter Pels (presentations by Pels and by Kripe/Zandbergen), and the "Beyond Utopia" project led by Chris Goto-Jones (presentations by Roth and Schneider). These presentations will then be used by three discussants as a stepping stone to illustrate the directions into which such research should be going. The discussants are Diny van Est (see Persoon & van Est 2000), Jane Guyer (see Guyer 2007) and Chris Goto-Jones.

Please register by emailing your name and surname to 

Peter Pels (Anthropology, Leiden):
"Towards an Ethnography of Modern Times: Seven Theses on the Anthropology of the Future"

Florian Schneider (LIAS, Leiden):
"The Futurities and Utopias of the Shanghai World Exposition - A Multimodal Discourse Analysis of the Expo 2010 Theme Pavilions"

Martin Roth (LIAS, Leiden):
"Another time? Narrative confusion and alternative temporality in videogames"

Zane Kripe & Dorien Zandbergen (Anthropology, Leiden):
"Kick-starting the future in the new economy: Perspectives from San Francisco, Amsterdam and Singapore"

Diny van Est (Netherlands Court of Audit)
Chris Goto-Jones (Leiden University)
Jane Guyer (Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University)

Recommended reading
People attending the workshop are advised to read the following articles (available online):

* Persoon, Gerard A. and Diny M. E. van Est. 2000. The study of the future in anthropology in relation to the sustainability debate. Focaal 35: 7-28

* Guyer, Jane I. 2007. Prophecy and the near future: Thoughts on macroeconomic, evangelical, and punctuated time. American Ethnologist 34 (3): 409-421