Experts

Aynne Kokas

Fast Facts

  • Non-resident scholar at Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy
  • Term member of the Council on Foreign Relations
  • Fellow in the National Committee on United States-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program
  • Expertise on U.S.-China relations, cybersecurity, media industry

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • Asia
  • Domestic Affairs
  • Media and the Press
  • Science and Technology

Aynne Kokas is the C.K. Yen Professor at the Miller Center and an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. Kokas’ research examines Sino-U.S. media and technology relations. Her book Trafficking Data: How China is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty (Oxford University Press, October 2022) argues that exploitative Silicon Valley data governance practices help China build infrastructures for global control. Her award-winning first book Hollywood Made in China (University of California Press, 2017) argues that Chinese investment and regulations have transformed the U.S. commercial media industry, most prominently in the case of media conglomerates’ leverage of global commercial brands. 

Kokas is a non-resident scholar at Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy, a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a fellow in the National Committee on United States-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program.

She has received fellowships from the Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, Mellon Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Japan’s Abe Fellowship, and other international organizations. Her writing and commentary have appeared globally in more than 50 countries and 15 languages. In the United States, her research and writing appear regularly in media outlets including CNBC, NPR’s MarketplaceThe Washington Post, and Wired. She has testified before the Senate Finance Committee, House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Aynne Kokas News Feed

“There have been several recent instances of big-budget U.S. films not getting into the Chinese market. Studios are aware of this and are making business decisions,” said Aynne Kokas, C.K. Yen Professor at UVA’s Miller Center and author of “Hollywood Made in China.”
Aynne Kokas nbcnews.com
William B. Taylor Jr., former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, joins a panel of Miller Center and UVA experts on war and foreign policy to analyze Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As Taylor wrote recently: “Atrocities and mass civilian casualties, in a Russian assault that President Biden and others have labeled an act of genocide, only heighten the question for democracies of how to respond. Accountability will be vital. But an immediate imperative is to stop this aggression by defeating Putin and supporting Ukrainians’ battle to preserve their own freedom. That battle is crucial to the protection of international rule of law—and, given Putin’s implacability, to any hope for peace.”
Aynne Kokas Miller Center Presents
On May 27, Paramount Pictures Studios will release its 1980s sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, to U.S. theaters. But long before it even hit the screen, eagle-eyed viewers of the film’s trailer noticed a subtle change to Tom Cruise’s leather flight jacket from the 1986 original: The Taiwanese flag, which had appeared on a patch, had disappeared. In its place was a rectangle with the same blue and red colors but representing no country—presumably a concession to Beijing’s insistence that Taiwan is merely a province of the People’s Republic of China. With support for the film’s production coming from China’s Tencent Pictures, the new Top Gun is a fitting metaphor of how the global entertainment industry is bending over backward to satisfy Beijing, no matter the cost to free speech or democratic values around the world.
Aynne Kokas Slate
In an emergency, we often look to media: to contact authorities, to get help, to monitor evolving situations, or to reach out to our loved ones. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of an emergency until we are notified by one of the countless alerts, alarms, notifications, sirens, text messages, or phone calls that permeate everyday life. Yet most people have only a partial understanding of how such systems make sense of and act upon an “emergency.” In Case of Emergency argues that emergency media are profoundly cultural artifacts that shape the very definition of “emergency” as an opposite of “normal.” What is the impact of "emergency media" on our lives? Miller Center Senior Faculty Fellow Elizabeth Ellcessor discusses her new book with Miller Center C. K. Yen Professor Aynne Kokas.
Aynne Kokas Miller Center Presents
As we enter the fourth week of the Ukraine conflict, the dynamic between China and Russia has shifted. The rise of the China-Russia alliance has been complicated by competing domestic interests in China. Despite the Chinese government’s support for Russia and heavily controlled media, Chinese social media posts are not unified on the Ukraine question. New research led by Stanford’s Jennifer Pan has found mixed public opinion about the Ukraine conflict on Chinese social platforms. This suggests a softening of censorship of critical views of Russia, as well as domestic popular opinion pressuring Chinese leaders to contend with efforts to collaborate with Russia.
Aynne Kokas Miller Center Russia-Ukraine blog
Aynne Kokas, media studies professor at the University of Virginia, warns in her latest book that China is winning at what she calls “data trafficking.” This concept describes “an exploitative process that leverages fragmented corporate data security policies that have limited user consent or acknowledgment of how the data has been shared”. In this way, data from the US and elsewhere can be “exploited and taken across borders” to China.
Aynne Kokas Financial Times