European Studies SMLC HKU School of Modern Languages and Cultures HKU

News & Events

21 September 2020

Gender/Democracy/Diversity: Pepe the Frog and Cuteness Activism Amongst Sinophone Youth

Dr. Katrien Jacobs
Associate Professor in Cultural Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Date: Monday, 21 Sept 2020
Time: 5 PM (GMT +8)


Please register at for Zoom Meeting ID

Pepe the Frog as a mascot of the global alt-right and male supremacist hate wars has been liberated by the Hong Kong anti-extradition protest movement and its pro-democracy ideology. What are some of the reasons that this mascot figure has crossed political frontlines and what does it now mean to liberate Hong Kong? In this talk I will explain how USA and EU far-right netizens and activists have made great efforts to hijack and rebrand online imagery and personas within a Gramscian quest for cultural hegemony. I also critically ponder if the re-hijacked mascot personifies collectivism or elitism, inclusivity or xenophobia, gender freedom or machismo within the Hong Kong protest culture.

About the speaker:
Katrien Jacobs is Associate Professor in Cultural Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Program Director of the MA in Visual Culture Studies. She has lectured and published widely about sexuality and gender in and around digital media, contemporary arts and media activism. She moved to Hong Kong in 2005 and devotes most of her research to contemporary Chinese, Japanese and trans-Asian arts and digital media platforms. She has authored three books about Internet culture and sexuality and her work can be found at

Moderator: Dr. Tim Gruenewald, Assistant Professor, American Studies, HKU

Please register at the link above. The Zoom link will be sent to you a day before the event.

For enquiries, please contact Christine Vicera at


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