This article provides a historical overview of image-driven nationalism with special emphasis attached to (a) the transforming culture of online nationalism that underlies college-student forums such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology bulletin board system (MIT BBS), which by 2006 had formed close relationships with major commercial forums championing anti-Japanese nationalism as a populist strategy, and (b) the generation of Chinese born after 1980 (80 hou) and their identity politics, illustrated by a discussion on those who are university students in Hong Kong. In so doing, this article maintains that visual images have become increasingly central to Chinese online nationalism and youth politics in cyberspace, both in online forums and among the post-1980s generation. It also attempts to establish an overall descriptive and explanatory account through which the Visualizing Cultures dispute can be better contextualized and understood. The issues at stake are not only technological, nor are they restricted to the structural transformations of educational institutions such as the growing popularity of e-learning platforms. To fully examine today's Chinese online nationalism and the critical centrality of visual images therein, one must also consider the generational characteristics of present-day college students, cultural formations in their online communities, their family backgrounds, global networking, and particular societal factors, including educational settings.

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