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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Cultural Globalization as Humanistic Globalization: Propitious Intersections between Arts and Technology

Kay Li.

While cultural globalization may be a by-product of neo-liberal economic globalization in which cultural production is manipulated to expand transnational markets and further cultural imperialism, it demonstrates much agency at times when cultural distribution has to take into account local forces, when cultural reception depends on a slippery and unforeseeable audience. This paper evaluates the prospects for a humanistic cultural globalization by examining the propitious intersections between the arts and technologies.
Artistic creativity and the availability of the work of art are affected by the tools and techniques available to the artists and their audience. Despite the massive introduction of cultural products from the developed to the less developed countries under economic globalization, instead of standardizing tastes across borders and creating a homogeneous global culture, heterogeneity persists necessitating local adaptations of transnational cultural products through translations, editions and so on. While cultural choices are reduced when the same cultural product is recycled by passing through various technological transformations changing form rather than content, technology advances also popularize cultural products that may otherwise be unavailable to the ordinary and the everyday, blurring the traditional barriers between high and low cultures and widening cultural choices. New forms of cultural participation result from the new kinds of realities brought by technology, making artistic encounters virtual, imaginative, experiential and referential in addition to the tangible, physical and materialistic. Examples will be drawn from eastern and western art forms such as literature, film, music and cybernetic art in global cultural transmissions. As a result of the propitious intersections between the arts and technology, cultural globalization has a chance to become humanistic globalization in future.


Kay Li

Cultural Studies, Faculty of Fine Arts
York University

Dr Kay Li teaches in the Department of Fine Arts Cultural Studies, Faculty of Fine Arts, York University, besides being a postdoctoral fellow in the Asian Institute, Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto. Research interests include cultural globalization, humanistic globalization, arts and technology, modern English literature especially drama, transnational literary transmissions, cross-cultural film, global performance, Bernard Shaw and Gao Xing-jian.

  • Cultural Globalization
  • Humanistic Globalization
  • Humanistic Cultural Globalization
  • Arts
  • Technology
  • Literature
  • Film
Person as Subject
  • Bernard Shaw, Gao Xing-jian, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai

(Virtual Presentation, English)