The Cool-Kawaii: Afro-Japanese Aesthetics and New World Modernity

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9780739148457: The Cool-Kawaii: Afro-Japanese Aesthetics and New World Modernity
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At the turn of the millennium, international youth culture is dominated by mainly two types of aesthetics: the African American cool, which, propelled by Hip-Hop music, has become the world's favorite youth culture; and the Japanese aesthetics of kawaii or cute, that is distributed internationally by Japan's powerful anime industry.

The USA and Japan are cultural superpowers and global trendsetters because they make use of two particular concepts that hide complex structures under their simple surfaces and are difficult to define, but continue to fascinate the world: cool and kawaii. The Cool-Kawaii: Afro-Japanese Aesthetics and New World Modernity, by Thorsten Botz-Bornstein, analyzes these attitudes and explains the intrinsic powers that are leading to a fusion of both aesthetics.

Cool and kawaii are expressions set against the oppressive homogenizations that occur within official modern cultures, but they are also catalysts of modernity. Cool and kawaii do not refer us back to a pre-modern ethnic past. Just like the cool African American man has almost no relationship with traditional African ideas about masculinity, the kawaii shôjo is not the personification of the traditional Japanese ideal of the feminine, but signifies an ideological institution of women based on Japanese modernity in the Meiji period, that is, a feminine image based on westernization.

At the same time, cool and kawaii do not transport us into a futuristic, impersonal world of hypermodernity based on assumptions of constant modernization. Cool and kawaii stand for another type of modernity, which is not technocratic, but rather "Dandyist" and closely related to the search for human dignity and liberation.

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About the Author:

Thorsten Botz-Bornstein is assistant professor of philosophy at the Gulf University for Science and Technology in Kuwait.

Review:

By investigating the rich manifestations of two globalizing aesthetics―cuteness and coolness―Thorsten Botz-Bornstein offers a subtle interpretation that explores the nexus of consumerism, virtual reality, and ethics. (Brian J. McVeigh, University of Arizona)

Thorsten Botz-Bornstein's vast knowledge of philosophy and theory is amalgamated with his keen understanding of Japanese, African-American, and Afro-Japanese cultures to explain with precision, clarity, and valuable insights, tricky concepts such as kawaii, modernity, cuteness, coolness, kitsch, and dandyism. Drawing upon boundless examples, including those of Japanese manga and anime, Botz-Bornstein has given us a volume that will spark discussion and debate in a number of disciplines and set a standard for theoretical analysis. (John A. Lent, Publisher and Editor-in-chief, International Journal of Comic Art)

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Book Description Lexington Books, United States, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. The Cool-Kawaii: Afro-Japanese Aesthetics and New World Modernity, by Thorsten Botz-Bornstein, analyzes and compares African American cool culture and the Japanese aesthetics of kawaii or cute and characterizes them as expressions set against oppressive homogenizations of a technocratic world. The Cool-Kawaii sheds light on the history and development of both cultures in three main ways: First, both emerge from similar historical conditions; second, both are in search of human dignity and liberation, and finally, both kawaii and African American cool establish a new kind of modernity able to transcend both traditionalism and anti-traditionalist modernity. Seller Inventory # BTE9780739148457

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Book Description Lexington Books, United States, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. The Cool-Kawaii: Afro-Japanese Aesthetics and New World Modernity, by Thorsten Botz-Bornstein, analyzes and compares African American cool culture and the Japanese aesthetics of kawaii or cute and characterizes them as expressions set against oppressive homogenizations of a technocratic world. The Cool-Kawaii sheds light on the history and development of both cultures in three main ways: First, both emerge from similar historical conditions; second, both are in search of human dignity and liberation, and finally, both kawaii and African American cool establish a new kind of modernity able to transcend both traditionalism and anti-traditionalist modernity. Seller Inventory # APC9780739148457

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Book Description Lexington Books, United States, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. The Cool-Kawaii: Afro-Japanese Aesthetics and New World Modernity, by Thorsten Botz-Bornstein, analyzes and compares African American cool culture and the Japanese aesthetics of kawaii or cute and characterizes them as expressions set against oppressive homogenizations of a technocratic world. The Cool-Kawaii sheds light on the history and development of both cultures in three main ways: First, both emerge from similar historical conditions; second, both are in search of human dignity and liberation, and finally, both kawaii and African American cool establish a new kind of modernity able to transcend both traditionalism and anti-traditionalist modernity. Seller Inventory # APC9780739148457

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