Panel description: Mapping and imagining changes: Gender power struggles in digital China


As China has eagerly integrated itself into global digital culture and economy, there has been growing scholarly inquiries and public attention about the political-economic and socio-cultural implications of digital media in contemporary China. In conversation with these concerns, this panel discusses the ongoing power struggles in digital China with a particular focus on gender power relations through the lenses of popular culture, activism, labor, and disability and social justice. Based upon critical and interdisciplinary approaches, the panelists adopt mixed qualitative methods, including case studies, interviews, critical discourse analysis, archival research, to reveal the potential and limitation of digital media in challenging dominant culture and power. The panelists will address the following topics: Internet-distributed television and popular feminist culture, sexual violence, misogynist culture and digital activism, fangirl community and grassroots campaign, middle-class migrant women and global digital labor, and disability and digital exclusion/inclusion. Through exploring the above issues, this panel seeks to shed light on what has been debated or overlooked in a wide spectrum of scholarship across feminist studies, cultural studies, critical media industry, activism and social movement, digital disability studies, and political economy. While focusing on China, the panel responds to broader theoretical and political questions: How are digital media shaping and shaped by existing power structures? In what ways have women and other marginalized groups exercised their agency in negotiating with the ever-expanding commodification of culture and technologies and division of labor in digital capitalism? What new subjectivities and practices have been formed and could be imagined to articulate a more diverse, inclusive, equal and just future?

The panel will start with a brief introduction of theme and panelists, then each panelist will present their study for 10 mins each, which will be 50 mins in total, and the rest of the panel will be devoted to discussions and Q&A with the audience.