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Media Mutations 11

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Media products, in particular audiovisual works, have always been used both as soft power tools for shaping or branding the image and reputation of their producing countries, and as a diplomatic platform for facilitating international relations and trade. Soft power strategies involve public and private stakeholders working in different areas within a wide, complex and well-orchestrated plan. However, due to the fundamental role of culture, media always play a crucial role in any plan of soft power and strategic marketing.

The conference aims at understanding how media products serve for diplomatic and soft power purposes, with a focus on emerging markets. While traditional flows of communication moved from the Western world to other regions (as in the case of Hollywood films), nowadays the most sophisticated and innovative soft power plans are going in the opposite direction: from developing countries to Western Europe and the United States. Not only do countries like China, India, South Korea and Mexico have more and more skillful and powerful media companies and professionals, they are also intensively working and negotiating to spread their media products and brands abroad and to create international co-productions and new media ventures. Within these collaborations and expansion strategies, Western Europe and the United States also became their targeted markets.

Investigating these dynamics is very challenging for scholars. Soft power strategies are often based on “unwritten” political decisions; they usually aim at reaching intangible goals, and their analysis requires expertise from several research areas (political sciences, economics, media studies, etc.). In light of these challenges, the conference aims at a better understanding of the role played by media products in international diplomacy and as soft power tools of developing countries favoring a dialogue between scholars from different research fields and geographic areas. In line with its founding purposes, the Media Mutations conference series aims to serve as a platform for discussing methodologies, sharing expertise and promoting a multi-disciplinary approach.


▶ Watch the Conference Videos


Monday, May 20

9:30 Institutional GreetingsGiacomo Manzoli, Head of the Department of the Arts, Università di BolognaIntroduction by Marco Cucco (Università di Bologna), Gertjan Willems (University of Antwerp), Zhan Zhang (Università della Svizzera Italiana)

10:00 Keynote AddressChair: Zhan Zhang (Università della Svizzera Italiana)China’s Use of Film in Its Pursuit of Soft Power: Structural and Self-Imposed Limits in China’s Competition with HollywoodStanley Rosen (University of Southern California)

11:15 Panel 1Chair: Marco Cucco (Università di Bologna)Film Co-production as Soft Power Between the UK and ChinaYanling Yang (Loughborough University London)Soft Power at Networked Venues: the “Belt and Road” Initiative and the Shanghai International Film FestivalPeize Li (University of St. Andrews)Produire au Sud: A Grounded Analysis of the Dynamics Between Filmmakers From the “Global South” and Their European Hosts at an International Co-production IncubatorJulia Hammett-Jamart (Co-production Research Network) and Katell Leon (Université Rennes 2)

12:45 Lunch Break

14:00 Panel 2Chair: Elena Lamberti (Università di Bologna)Soft Power or Hard Threat? The Influence of South Korean Cultural Production on North Korea and Inter-Korean RelationsAntonio Fiori (Università di Bologna) and Marco Milani (University of Sheffield)A Vietnamese Perspective on Hosting the DPRK–USA Vietnam Summit 2019Matthew Hibberd (Università della Svizzera Italiana)The De Facto Centre – The Emergence of Dubai as a Soft Power in the Middle EastAli Makke (University of Leicester)International Media’s Reports as a Counterbalance to Public Diplomacy Strategies of Kosovo’s ImageHasan Saliu (AAB College)

15:45 Panel 3Chair: Luca Barra (Università di Bologna)News About China’s Soft Power in European Media: A Quantitative Content AnalysisJingwen Qui (Ghent University), Sarah van Leuven (Ghent University) and Stijn Joye (Ghent University)Internalization and Revision: Going Globe of China’s Game Industry by Upgrading Value ChainJiang Duo (Communication University of China)Soap-operas, Soft power and the Tourism Industry: the Case of Turkish Television SeriesDimitra Laurence Larochelle (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle)Turkey’s Television Series: Soft Power, Hard ControlEce Vitrinel (Galatasaray University)

20:00 Conference dinner

Tuesday, May 21

10:00 Keynote AddressChair: Gertjan Willems (University of Antwerp)New Myths for an Old Nation: Bollywood, Soft Power and Hindu NationalismRachel Dwyer (SOAS University of London)

11:15 Panel 4Chair: Zhan Zhang (Università della Svizzera italiana)Designing Soft Power Networks: Bollywoodization in the Age of Social MediaAkriti Rastogi (Jawaharlal Nehru University)China and the Disney Purchase of Fox FilmFrederick Wasser (Brooklyn College, CUNY)BeautifulChina: the Chinese Way to “Instagram Diplomacy”Tiziano Bonini (Università di Siena) and Valeria Donato (Università di Siena)

12:45 Lunch Break

14:00 Panel 5Chair: Massimo Scaglioni (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)The Dawn Controversy: a Milestone in the History of Screen DiplomaciesDaniel Biltereyst (Ghent University)Visual Representations of International Relations in an Interdisciplinary FrameworkIlaria Poggiolini (Università di Pavia)Postwar Italian Cinema and International RelationsDom Holdaway (Università degli Studi di Milano) and Tomaso Subini (Università degli Studi di Milano) 

16:00 CUC Workshop (in Italian)

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