In David Oh’s presentation “Whitewashing Anime Remakes: Ghost in the Shell and Dragonball Evolution,” he makes a theoretical argument for “whitewashing” as an erasure of difference that centers and makes visible White subjectivity. Specifically, he argues that because of contemporary racial politics, Asian and Asian Americans are vulnerable to filmic erasure. He argues that whitewashing is among many strategies of White supremacy and that whitewashing operates by extending whiteness’s boundaries. For the talk, he focuses on his chapter on anime adaptations, including Dragonball Evolution and Ghost in the Shell to describe the ways Asianness is distorted and minimized in order to subjectify the White hero. 

Sponsors: DSN, ARC, NCID, University of Michigan Library, The Asian, Pacific Islander American Studies Program, Department of Film, Television and Media, Digital Studies Insitute


David Oh is an Associate Professor of Communication Arts at Ramapo College of New Jersey. He is the author of Second-Generation Korean American Adolescent Identity and Media: Diasporic Identifications (2015) and Whitewashing the Movies: White Subjectivity and Asian Erasure in U.S. Film Culture (2022) and the co-author of Navigating White News: Asian American Journalists at Work (2023). He also edited Mediating the Korean Other: Representations and Discourses of Difference in the Post/Neocolonial Nation-State (2022). Dr. Oh writes about Asian/American representation in U.S. media culture, representations of alterity in Korean media culture, and transnational audience reception of Korean media. He serves on multiple Editorial Boards in communication, cultural studies, and media studies, and he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar to South Korea in 2018-19 at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.