Cobus van Staden

Senior Lecturer

(Honours Coordinator)

I was appointed as a lecturer in Media Studies at Wits in 2013. Before that I was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Johannesburg’s South African Research Chair for African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, and the Department of Political Science and the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University. From 2008 to 2011 I worked as an investigative reporter and TV director at Special Assignment. I completed my PhD in Media Studies in 2008 at the University of Nagoya in Japan.


PhD in Media and Film Studies (University of Nagoya, Japan, 2008)
MA in Media Studies (University of Nagoya, Japan, 2005)
BA Honours in Language (University of Johannesburg 1998)


My research focuses on trying to expand the thinking about the influence of media on the relationships between countries. My postdoctoral work has focused on Japan and China’s contrasting models of media diplomacy in the developing world. My main case study is Africa and the research has led me to realize how much the spread of East Asian media depends on African media systems. I am currently working on a book-length project comparing Japanese and Chinese approaches to public and media diplomacy in emerging markets, with special reference to Africa. This focus on cultural flows to Africa also draws me into debates on cultural globalization. While cultural globalization has frequently been characterized as the spread of pop culture and commodities from the West to the rest of the world, the real situation is much more complex. In my PhD dissertation entitled “How this World Works: Anime, Capitalism and the Global Audience” I looked at the frequently overlooked role of Japanese animation in the history of cultural globalization. I have since conducted a series of investigations into the processes that brought East Asian pop culture to Africa and published them in a series of book chapters and articles, with a few more coming up.

My focus on globalization is increasingly focusing on the emerging global role of Chinese media. Much Chinese media expansion in emerging markets has taken place in the field of 24-hour TV News. I have done research on the representation of China and Africa by China Central Television’s African division, and I am currently expanding this research to delve deeper into how African audiences react to representations of China in Chinese state-owned media.


Journals:(forthcoming) "Moomin/Mūmin/Moemin: Apartheid-Era Dubbing and the Origins of Anime" to Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies.

(forthcoming) "CCTV's Global Outreach: Questioning the Audience of China's 'New Voice' on Africa" with Lauren Gorfinkel, Yu-Shan Wu and Sandy Joffe in Media Information Australia.

"Editor's Introduction" in Electric Shadows: Media in East Asian/African Relations (special edition of African East-Asian Affairs, Issue 1 March 2013.)

"Lonely Nights Online: How Does Social Networking Channel Chinese Migration and Business to Africa?" with Lu Jinghao, in Electric Shadows: Media in East Asian/African Relations (special edition of African East-Asian Affairs, Issue 1 March 2013.)

"Mutations in Moominvalley: Globalization, Capitalism and the Cultural Identity of Fiction" in Niskanen, E. (ed) Imaginary Japan: Japanese Fantasy in Contemporary Popular Culture (International Institute for

Popular Culture Publication Series 3), 2010.

"Arupusu no Kin'iro na Kagayaki: Bunkateki Gurōbaruka to Yōroppa no Imēji" in Special Proceedings of Nihon to Furansu: Nikokukan Seminaa, December 2008.

"Loudmouth: Global Capitalism, Local Culture and Kureyon Shin-chan" in Tagen Bunka, March 2007.

"Exporting Stories: Global Capitalism, Narrative Design and Anime" in Iconics, Volume 8, 2006.

Book Chapters:
(forthcoming) “Withdrawn: Anime Fans in South Africa and Japan” to Ebrahim, H (ed.) Cinema in South Africa post-’94

“The Golden Glow of the Alps: Anime Reimagines Europe” in Chan, F. (et al) (eds.) Genre in Asian Film and Television: New Approaches Palgrave MacMillan, 2011.

Online Projects:
I am the co-founder of the China-Africa Project, an attempt to broaden the discussion of China-Africa relations via social networking, podcasting and mobile apps. You can find our community at We also produce the China in Africa Podcast, which is a weekly discussion with prominent people in the field of China-Africa relations.


Room 3062, Senate House
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(011) 717 4241

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