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Celebrity Activism and Philanthropy in Asia

Toward a Cosmopolitical Imaginary

160 pages
Amsterdam University Press
Recent years have witnessed the increasing visibility of Asian celebrities in activism, advocacy, diplomacy, philanthropy, and ambassadorship but this phenomenon is under-explored. This volume provides a critical intervention in celebrity activism and philanthropy by examining the civic imaginaries and mobilisations of Asian celebrities-turned-activists or philanthropists, alongside an array of significations and tensions involved. The analysis anchors on a roster of high-profile Asian icons including Bollywood star Aamir Khan, K-pop sensation BTS, Cantopop singer Denise Ho, and Chinese live-streamer Weiya, who exhibit universal morals while underscoring local or regional affiliations as propelled by expansive media networks. Adopting cosmopolitics as the methodological frame, this volume suggests “muliversal consciousness,” a staple to code the star-powered goodwill in times of disjuncture and rupture. To its critical ends, this book attempts to disrupt the Eurocentric tendency in the discursive construction of celebrity-cause dynamics, disentangling the complexities of Asian power, global citizenship, and techno-capitalist logics.
Author Bio
Dorothy Wai Sim Lau is an Associate Professor at the Academy of Film, Hong Kong Baptist University. Her research interests include stardom, celebrities, fandom, Asian cinema, Hong Kong cinema, digital culture, and screen culture. She is the author of Chinese Stardom in Participatory Cyberculture (2019) and Reorienting Chinese Stars in Global Polyphonic Networks: Voice, Ethnicity, Power (2021). Lau was the visiting scholar at the School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield in 2022.