Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Mickey Mao: Disneyland and Globalization

September is here, the academics have returned from their summer breaks and the talks organized by the Hong Kong Anthropological Society have returned. The next talk is scheduled for September 22nd, at 7pm, in the Hong Kong Museum of History Lecture Hall in Tsim Sha Tsui it is entitled "Mickey Mao: What the World's Newest Disneyland Tells Us About Globalization", and the speaker is Geoffrey Fowler, who has been an Asian Wall Street Journal reporter based in Hong Kong since 2002 covering Asian media, marketing, youth and cultural affairs. Before becoming a journalist, Mr. Fowler trained as a social anthropologist, earning a graduate degree in anthropology at Cambridge University and an undergraduate degree in social anthropology and Afro-American studies at Harvard University. He was born in New York City.

The gist of his talk will be as follows:
The Hong Kong Disneyland opening on September 12 provides a rare window on the role of multinational corporations in the globalization of cultures. How did Disney as a corporation -- famous for selling and spreading Americana -- approach crafting and selling a theme park destined for Chinese consumption? What values might attract Chinese tourists to a Disney park - "American" culture, "global" culture, or something "Chinese"? And what role does the idea of local culture - from feng shui and shark's fin, to Mulan and fireworks -- play in the politics and marketing of the park? This will be one reporter's unofficial view, after hours of interviews with company officials, marketers, and visitors to Hong Kong Disneyland.
I encourage you all to come, it sounds like an interesting talk about the world's best paid rodent and what he's had to do to get there.

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