Scott Aalgaard



Thursday, December 1, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E. 60th St.)

Scott Aalgaard, “Untimely Voices: Hearing Critique in Japanese Cultural Production”

Please join us this Thursday for a mock job talk by Scott Aalgaard (PhD Candidate, EALC). Scott summarizes his talk as follows:

In 2012, historian and Area Studies critic Harry Harootunian warned that our field was drifting toward what he sees as an uncritical sort of identity studies, wherein hitherto excluded voices of differences were finding inclusion in analysis in a manner that served merely to complete existing socioeconomic structures of power. Attending to Otherness, for Harootunian, is not a spatial exercise, but a temporal one: by attending to the non-contemporaneity of voices embedded in the social, heterological temporalities and histories can be uncovered that challenge normative temporality and consider what he terms “missed opportunities and defeated possibilities.” This talk will propose what I am terming “critical temporality” as a counterbalance to Harootunian’s “normative temporality,” and will suggest that the conjuring of such temporality is a critical tactic that is deployed intentionally by cultural figures, and that can be revealed through combined analyses of texts of cultural production and the contexts in which they are deployed. By attending to the untimely voices of poets, musicians, and social critics like Ryo Kagawa, Takada Wataru, and Soeda Azembo, and to the ways in which these figures make use of text – their own and others’ – in specific historical moments, I will show how analytical methodologies from Area Studies and ethnomusicology can combine to reveal precisely the sorts of productive challenges to “normative temporality” that Harootunian insists are essential components of critical reimagining of the social. Close attention to these voices will show how they resist a simple internal negation of the status quo, and endeavor to imagine what Harootunian would call “other histories.”

Please note the amended date for this event. Also note that there will be no pre-circulated paper for the talk. Drinks and refreshments will be served. We look forward to seeing you there!

Yuqian Yan


Friday, November 18, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E. 60th St)

Yuqian Yan, “From History Films to Ancient Costume Films: Representations of the Chinese Past in the Late 1920s”

Discussant: Pao-Chen Tang (EALC/Cinema and Media Studies)

Please join us this Friday to welcome Yuqian Yan, a PhD candidate in EALC/Cinema and Media Studies. Yuqian will present a draft of the first chapter of her dissertation. She summarizes the chapter as follows:

This chapter focuses on the first wave of Chinese ancient costume films (古装片) that started roughly around 1926 and died out in the early 1930s. The genre of ancient costume films was largely under discussed in Chinese film history. It was either dismissed as a countercurrent in modern time or a profit-driven practice that catered to the low taste of petit urbanities. Reexamining the genre through film advertisements, critical discussions and its relation to theater, this chapter argues that the concerns in why and how to make ancient costume films were shaped by the very condition of modernity at the time. It reflected a strong epistemological rupture between past and present, but also demonstrated the instability of such separation in reality. The desire to represent the ancient in cinema should not simply be seen as a retreat to the past, but reflected the filmmakers’ enthusiasm for the potential of the new cinematic media in providing an unprecedented experience of the past. It was treated, at least initially, as a chance to advance the Chinese film industry in a global scope.

The paper is available at this link. If you have not received the password for the post, or if you have concerns about accessibility, please feel free to contact Alex Murphy at



David Andrew Knight

David Andrew Knight, “Plain Becomes Patterned: Li Deyu and the White Lotus”

Discussant: Yiren Zheng (EALC)

Friday, November 11, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)

We are delighted to host David Andrew Knight next Friday, 11/1, in co-sponsorship with the East Asia Transregional Histories workshop. Below is a brief abstract of the work:

This paper is part of a larger project that situates the fu poetry of the ninth century minister Li Deyu 李德裕 (787-850) within the context of his life. Through the focal point of a fu poem about a white lotus flower written by Li Deyu, one of the most powerful men of his day, I will demonstrate how this poem captures a retrievable moment of poetic creation. I have discovered that Li Deyu’s fu poem on the white lotus is a literary recreation of his encounter with the fifteen year old Xu Pan who was soon to become his concubine. By analyzing a key stanza in the poem, I will illuminate the links between Li’s literary life and his real life.

The paper is available at this link. If you have not received the password for the post, or if you have concerns about accessibility, please feel free to contact Alex Murphy at