The Center for Asian Studies theme for the 2017-18 academic year is Asian Popular Cultures. While Asian contributions to ‘global’ popular cultures – such as pop music & hip hop, print & film animation, or serial melodramas – are by now well known and well studied, we seek to challenge and expand received understandings of Asian popular cultures in several ways. First, we seek to explore not only how ‘Western’ popular cultures are translated, appropriated, and repurposed in Asia, but also the multidirectional flows of global popular cultures within Asia.  Especially due to the ubiquity of social media, Asian popular cultures are as influenced by other Asian forms as by those emanating from ‘the West.’ Thus, we seek more local and regional perspectives on popular culture, in an effort to complicate discussions that tend to be dominated by a discourse of globalization. How do locally practiced forms of popular culture diverge from more globally familiar forms? In what ways are traditional or folk forms adapted and transformed in contemporary popular cultures? What role do Asian media entities play in the development and circulation of popular culture icons?  Second, we encourage debate over claims of authenticity within Asian popular cultures. In what ways do Asian popular cultures raise questions about cultural origins, about the genuineness of creativity or the meaning of innovation? In what ways are these ideas being reconceived in Asian popular cultural contexts?  Third, we hope to expand our vocabulary of popular culture by considering emerging Asian popular cultures – such as youth culture, protest cultures, subaltern street cultures, cultures of emerging middle class fashion, or less visible digital cultures – that have yet to significantly register in the Western academy. How do these interact with more traditional cultural forms at the local and regional level? We hope explore these questions and more in a series of presentations, panel discussions, performances, screenings, and exhibitions throughout the academic year.