IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies: Volume 9 – Special Issue: "Asian Futures": IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies: Volume 9 – Special Issue: "Asian Futures"

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Abstract

The current Special Issue of the IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies is entitled “Asian Futures”. As the world continues to reel from multiple crises (Covid, Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, the list goes on...), it is heartening to remember that there exists a branch of academic enquires and cultural practices which solidly believes in the future – Futurism and Science Fiction. Both engage the future and refuse to believe in its demise.
That said, Science Fiction scholars tell us that even these futures have become more dystopic, though. If the typical Science Fiction of the 1960s and 70s was quite revolutionary (in the truest sense of the word, think LeGuin or Delaney), starting with Cyberpunk, a less dreamy future utopia began to take hold of the genre. However, it would be wrong to condemn Cyberpunk for the loss of utopia. What it rather did, was to shift focus away from social comprehensive utopias to the emerging digital revolution and technologies of the future. If Gibson’s Neuromancer, published in 1984 no less, already sketched the power of economic conglomerates to undermine human social self-determination, it also paved the way for a view that saw individuals empowered as never before – to communicate with each other and the universe at large, to challenge the power of companies, and to radically reinvent themselves as post-humans.
This cultural shift has continued, even if early Cyberpunk might have lost its edge. After all, nothing ages more quickly than the future. And if Cyberpunk took much of its imagination from Asia, at the time mostly Japan, then it is only appropriate for cultural studies to ask where Asia stands today in that imagining of the future. Not surprisingly, at present it is China (and to a lesser extent, India), that are shaping the consciousness of future studies. It is therefore very apt to make these Asian futures the centre of a special issues of IJCS.

The current Special Issue of the IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies is entitled “Asian Futures”. As the world continues to reel from multiple crises (Covid, Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, the list goes on...), it is heartening to remember that there exists a branch of academic enquires and cultural practices which solidly believes in the future – Futurism and Science Fiction. Both engage the future and refuse to believe in its demise.
That said, Science Fiction scholars tell us that even these futures have become more dystopic, though. If the typical Science Fiction of the 1960s and 70s was quite revolutionary (in the truest sense of the word, think LeGuin or Delaney), starting with Cyberpunk, a less dreamy future utopia began to take hold of the genre. However, it would be wrong to condemn Cyberpunk for the loss of utopia. What it rather did, was to shift focus away from social comprehensive utopias to the emerging digital revolution and technologies of the future. If Gibson’s Neuromancer, published in 1984 no less, already sketched the power of economic conglomerates to undermine human social self-determination, it also paved the way for a view that saw individuals empowered as never before – to communicate with each other and the universe at large, to challenge the power of companies, and to radically reinvent themselves as post-humans.
This cultural shift has continued, even if early Cyberpunk might have lost its edge. After all, nothing ages more quickly than the future. And if Cyberpunk took much of its imagination from Asia, at the time mostly Japan, then it is only appropriate for cultural studies to ask where Asia stands today in that imagining of the future. Not surprisingly, at present it is China (and to a lesser extent, India), that are shaping the consciousness of future studies. It is therefore very apt to make these Asian futures the centre of a special issues of IJCS.The current Special Issue of the IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies is entitled “Asian Futures”. As the world continues to reel from multiple crises (Covid, Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, the list goes on...), it is heartening to remember that there exists a branch of academic enquires and cultural practices which solidly believes in the future – Futurism and Science Fiction. Both engage the future and refuse to believe in its demise.
That said, Science Fiction scholars tell us that even these futures have become more dystopic, though. If the typical Science Fiction of the 1960s and 70s was quite revolutionary (in the truest sense of the word, think LeGuin or Delaney), starting with Cyberpunk, a less dreamy future utopia began to take hold of the genre. However, it would be wrong to condemn Cyberpunk for the loss of utopia. What it rather did, was to shift focus away from social comprehensive utopias to the emerging digital revolution and technologies of the future. If Gibson’s Neuromancer, published in 1984 no less, already sketched the power of economic conglomerates to undermine human social self-determination, it also paved the way for a view that saw individuals empowered as never before – to communicate with each other and the universe at large, to challenge the power of companies, and to radically reinvent themselves as post-humans.
This cultural shift has continued, even if early Cyberpunk might have lost its edge. After all, nothing ages more quickly than the future. And if Cyberpunk took much of its imagination from Asia, at the time mostly Japan, then it is only appropriate for cultural studies to ask where Asia stands today in that imagining of the future. Not surprisingly, at present it is China (and to a lesser extent, India), that are shaping the consciousness of future studies. It is therefore very apt to make these Asian futures the centre of a special issues of IJCS.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages130
JournalIAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies
VolumeVolume 9
Issue numberSpecial Issue – 2024
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Telepathy
  • Brain-computer interface (BCI)
  • Cosmism

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