Vicarious Media: Serial Liveness and Fan Mediation in K-pop (April 10, 2019)

The Boston University Center for the Study of Asia and Department of World Languages and Literatures
are pleased to present

Michelle Cho

(Assistant Professor of East Asian Popular Culture, University of Toronto) 

Vicarious Media: Serial Liveness and Fan Mediation in K-pop

Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at 6 pm
at the BU School of Theology, 745 Commonwealth Ave, Room B23-24, Boston, MA 02215


In this talk, I present K-pop as a portal or contact zone that organizes multi-sited fandom communities through serial affect and vicarious experience, as modeled in the genre of the reaction video. This is the basis for the category of “vicarious media” that I propose in my presentation. I have been fascinated by the rate at which reaction videos—or internet videos that center on the spectacle of consumption—have been proliferating on video-sharing platforms, and I want to ask what is at stake in the attempt to forge connection by capturing the shared feelings that are produced by media consumption. K-pop—entertainment media produced in South Korea, but that endeavor to be globally popular—has achieved considerable visibility outside East Asia through media platforms that bridge the private and the public through the increasingly elusive realm of the social. Thus, K-pop offers a unique testing ground to query what social media might have to do with social reality, and what forms of relationality and identity are ported by vicarious media, as a growing genre of practice in our contemporary media landscape.

About the speaker:

Michelle Cho is Assistant Professor of East Asian Popular Culture at the University of Toronto. She has published on Asian cinema and Korean wave television, video, and pop music in such venues as Cinema Journal, The Korean Popular Culture Reader, and Asian Video Cultures. Her first book analyzes millennial South Korean genre cinemas, and her current project theorizes the convergence of platforms, affect, and globalization fantasies in K-pop fandoms.


For a recent post on BTS fandoms and global television see

For an essay on the film genres of the Park Geun-hye presidency see