Anime's Knowledge Cultures: Geek, Otaku, Zhai (Hardcover)

Anime's Knowledge Cultures: Geek, Otaku, Zhai By Jinying Li Cover Image

Anime's Knowledge Cultures: Geek, Otaku, Zhai (Hardcover)


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Unlocking the technosocial implications of global geek cultures

Why has anime, a “low-tech” medium from last century, suddenly become the cultural “new cool” in the information age? Through the lens of anime and its transnational fandom, Jinying Li explores the meanings and logics of “geekdom” as one of the most significant sociocultural groups of our time. In Anime’s Knowledge Cultures, Li shifts the center of global geography in knowledge culture from the computer boys in Silicon Valley to the anime fandom in East Asia. 


Drawing from film studies, animation studies, media theories, fan studies, and area studies, she provides broad cultural and theoretical explanations of anime’s appeal to a new body of tech-savvy knowledge workers and consumers commonly known as geeks, otaku, or zhai. Examining the forms, techniques, and aesthetics of anime, as well as the organization, practices, and sensibilities of its fandom, Anime’s Knowledge Cultures is at once a theorization of anime as a media environment as well as a historical and cultural study of transnational geekdom as a knowledge culture. Li analyzes anime culture beyond the national and subcultural frameworks of Japan or Japanese otaku, instead theorizing anime’s transnational, transmedial network as the epitome of the postindustrial knowledge culture of global geekdom.


By interrogating the connection between the anime boom and global geekdom, Li reshapes how we understand the meanings and significance of anime culture in relation to changing social and technological environments.

Jinying Li is assistant professor of modern culture and media at Brown University.

Product Details ISBN: 9781517916275
ISBN-10: 1517916275
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press
Publication Date: March 12th, 2024
Pages: 344
Language: English

"Information-rich and theoretically sophisticated, Anime’s Knowledge Cultures engages the figure of the geek (or otaku or zhai) as a portal into understanding the information society and knowledge culture at large. Basing itself not only on Japan but also on China’s massive and increasingly influential consumers and producers of anime, comics, and games, Jinying Li’s book is one of the most compelling recent interventions into anime studies and global digital media studies, productively shifting our attention from a knowledge work to knowledge culture. A must-read book that is as informative as it is brilliant."—Marc Steinberg, author of The Platform Economy: How Japan Transformed the Consumer Internet


"A brilliant contribution to an exciting and evolving subject, Anime’s Knowledge Cultures uses the lens of anime to explore ‘geekdom,’ one of the most significant sociocultural groups of our time. Jinying Li’s arguments are powerful and extremely thought-provoking, showing how the geek community impacts practically every moment of our waking lives as humanity endlessly engages with cyberspace."—Susan Napier, author of Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art