3/12 Dr. Alexander Zahlten

Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

Systemic Paranoia: Media Intensification in Japan

 

Time: Friday, March 12, 3-5 pm CT

Zoom Registration: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0lduCtrj4oGNCA5_qiFdBFa2CJ8ALDwof- 

Discussant: Sophia Walker, Ph.D. Student, EALC and CMS

The Art and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host Dr. Alexander Zahlten (Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University) who will present his paper, “Systemic Paranoia: Media Intensification in Japan.” He summarizes his paper as follows: 

This paper understands the occult boom – a media phenomenon in Japan stretching from the 1970s to the 1990s – as a vernacular media theory that expresses, commodifies, and frames the anxieties and cognitive responses to the pressures of intensifying media connectivity. The occult boom is also a political response to the perceived failure of the Japanese left in the late 1960s/early 1970s, and an attempt to formulate a different strategy, and to understand the political challenges differently. The occult boom also can be understood as a fundamentally paranoid theory that attempts to make sense of the new connective totality, but leads into a logic of catastrophe, with in turn catastrophic consequences in the 1990s.

Alexander Zahlten is professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. His work focuses on popular film and media in Japan and East Asia from the 1960s to today. His publications include the co-edited volume Media Theory in Japan (Duke University Press, 2017, with Marc Steinberg) and the book The End of Japanese Cinema (Duke University Press, 2017). He is especially interested in the dynamics of intensified media ecologies, and his recent work touches on topics such as the relationship of electricity and film or ‘amateur’ film and media production. Between 2002 and 2010 he was program director for Nippon Connection Film Festival, the largest festival for film from Japan.

 

Please contact Jiayi Zhu (jiayizhu@uchicago.edu) and Sophia Walker (scwalker2@uchicago.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.
Jiayi and Sophia, Co-coordinators, Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop

3/5 Alex Murphy

Ph.D. Candidate, EALC

Enchantment of Politics, Poetics of Enchantment

Terui Eizō, “Shi rōdoku: Osayo,” 1935 (Record leaflet, Columbia 33287)

Time: Friday, March, 3-5 pm CT

Zoom Registration: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0lduCtrj4oGNCA5_qiFdBFa2CJ8ALDwof- 

Discussant: Anthony Stott, Ph.D. Student, EALC/Comparative Literature 

 

The Art and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host Alex Murphy (Ph.D. Candidate, EALC), who will present his dissertation chapter, “Enchantment of Politics, Poetics of Enchantment.” He summarizes his chapter as follows:

This chapter concerns the advent of radio poetry in interwar Japan, and its role in the aural poeisis of public life at the outset of the Shōwa period. Following the 1923 Kantō earthquake, a prominent consortium of poets turned to oral recitation in order to channel the turbulent rhythms and sonorities of social life that seemed so far to elude expression in print, and to the emergent technology of radio broadcast as a means of harmonizing these disparate intensities toward a communal sense of “public resonance.” In so doing, however, the poets of this growing recitation movement had also to reckon with the politics involved in shaping the radio’s emergent listening public, especially as the escalation of acclamatory social movements signaled a more polyphonous body politic than the state was willing to accommodate. What the movement’s advocates proposed, then, was a mode of recitation that might, through various formal refinements, convey the impression of an informal, unadorned poetic voice—one shorn of embellishment, polished down to its most genuine and universal essence. By the same token, however, I argue that this mode of recitation served thereby to naturalize, or enchant a narrower political vision of post-quake public life by staging the state’s attenuations of audible speech—the filtration of dissent, opacity, or innuendo—as steps toward a radiogenic ideal of clarity, neutrality, and noiseless transmission.

 

Alex Murphy is a PhD candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, focusing on modern Japanese literature and cultural history. His dissertation, entitled “What the Ear Sees,” deals with performance, sound media, and the politics of the voice in interwar Japan.

 

Please contact Jiayi Zhu (jiayizhu@uchicago.edu) and Sophia Walker (scwalker2@uchicago.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.
Jiayi and Sophia, Co-coordinators, Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop

2/26 Jiayi Chen

Ph.D. Candidate, EALC

“Theorizing ‘Youxi’: Virtual Theatricality and Reading the Journey to the West”

Time: Friday, January 29th, 3-5 pm

Zoom Registration: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcpc-6pqzgrE9xhrGGpDKOFjM4eIOxvNv88

Discussant: Alia Breitwieser Goehr (Ph.D. Candidate, Comparative Literature) 

The Art and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host Jiayi Chen (Ph.D. Candidate, EALC), who will present her paper, “Theorizing ‘Youxi’: Virtual Theatricality and Reading the Journey to the West”. She summarizes the paper as follows:

This paper discusses the notion of “virtual theatricality” as a perspective to understand the reading experience of the sixteenth-century novel Journey to the West. The scene of the guessing game in Chapter 46 will be my start point. On one hand, it points to the interplay between the concept of hiddenness and transformation. On the other hand, it is relevant to the huanxi 幻戏 performance, a prototype of modern magic tricks, that oscillated between deception and divine acts while engaging the bodily experiences of the performers and the spectators. I use “theatricality” instead of “theater” to call attention to the participatory spectatorship/readership not confined to the medium of theater per se. Meanwhile, in lieu of a preconditioned line between reality and illusion, “virtual” suggests the agency of the spectator/reader to draw such a boundary (or rather a continuum). By looking closely at some episodes in the novel and its rich commentaries, I show how “virtual theatricality” suggests that the text of the novel embodies openness and transforming possibilities by inviting the reader to experience its textual virtuality. In so doing, I also try to offer an interpretation of youxi (literally means roam and play) which is so closely related to the Journey to the West. 
 
Jiayi Chen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, with a concentration on early modern Chinese literature. Her dissertation studies the interplay between games and reading experience in China from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. She also holds broader interests in the practices and representations of storytelling, text-image relations, and Sino-Japanese cultural exchange.
Please contact Jiayi Zhu (jiayizhu@uchicago.edu) and Sophia Walker (scwalker2@uchicago.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.
Jiayi and Sophia, Co-coordinators, Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop

2/12 Li Yifan

Chinese director of documentary “We Were SMART” (杀马特我爱你 shāmǎtè wǒ ài nǐ)

Time: Friday, February 12th, 7-9 pm CST

Zoom Registration:

https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEtduCrrTgrGdWLJOH8yccPfR0kFYxd4rlu

The Chinese word  (Shamate, written as SMART in the film’s English version) is a homophonic appropriation of the English word “smart.” Starting in the 2000s, this term has appeared on the Chinese Internet, labeling a form of fashion with its iconic hairstyle, makeup, and attire. Documentary We Were SMART looks into the lives of people who are associated with SMART, namely, young factory workers migrated from rural areas to the periphery of urban spaces. In addition to in-depth conversations with these people, the film also includes footage shot by them, offering an insider’s view of SMART’s life stories.

Li Yifan is a documentary filmmaker and artist in China. He teaches at Sichuan Fine Arts Institute. His other works include “Chronicle of Longwang: A Year in the Life of a Chinese Village” (村档案:王村2006影像文件) and “Before the Flood” (淹没).

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies with generous support from a Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Please contact Jiayi Zhu (jiayizhu@uchicago.edu) and Sophia Walker (scwalker2@uchicago.edu) if you have any questions or concerns. We will see you on Zoom! 

1/29 Brian White

Ph.D. Candidate, EALC

“Mixed Media: SF as a Social Genre”

Time: Friday, January 29th, 3-5 pm

Zoom Registration: https://uchicago.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMvdOqrpj8qGtMpyU53gJvwY8zZpP_Sre3i

Discussant: Jiarui Sun, Ph.D. Student, EALC

The Art and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host Brian White (Ph.D. Candidate, EALC), who will present his paper, “Mixed Media: SF as a Social Genre.” He summarizes the paper as follows:

Brian summarizes his chapter as follows: While the historical roots of the otaku (devoted fans of anime and manga) are often said to be in 1960s science fiction fandom, the specific theoretical implications of this connection have not been extensively explored in English. In this paper, Brian White develops a theory of the SF genre as a force of social relationality, exceeding the bounds of any one text or creator in favor of communal identification as “SF fans”. This genre-based model of social relations enfolds a transmedia assemblage of texts and media habits, allowing us to cut across the boundaries that have commonly divided literary and media studies examinations of media communities.

Brian White is a 9th year PhD candidate in EALC. His dissertation takes up issues of media, discourse, and community formation in 1960s Japanese science fiction. Starting next year, he will be assistant professor of Japanese at Kalamazoo College.

Please contact Jiayi Zhu (jiayizhu@uchicago.edu) and Sophia Walker (scwalker2@uchicago.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.
Jiayi and Sophia, Co-coordinators, Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop