Past Event

Legacies of Leftism in Film and Media Theory: East Asia and Beyond

February 28, 2019 - March 2, 2019
7:30 PM - 10:30 PM
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The Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room, Lenfest Center for the Arts, 615 W. 129 St. New York, NY 10027

How have Leftist traditions inspired film and media theories across the world, and what can we learn from these traditions today as we explore new methodologies in film and media studies and new political possibilities in the contemporary world?

Marxist theory has been considered a major influence on film and media theories in Europe and North America, from the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, the theories of Althusser, to the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies.  Moving away from these more familiar stories in Europe and North America, this conference takes East Asia as a focal point to investigate “Leftism” as changing, plural and contested positions in theory and politics that have tied emerging mass media forms to revolutionary upheavals and anti-imperial struggles in the region and beyond.

At the conference, we use “media” in the broadest sense of the term, including print, photography, film, animation, contemporary digital new media and more. We problematize “film and media theory” and its locations, excavating theory within the specific contexts of practice and criticism in East Asia.  Situating East Asia within broader transnational circuits of travel, translation and transformation, we ask how Leftist ideas have entered into other discourses such as anti-imperialism, nationalism, populism, statism, and developmentalism, and how such imbrications have impacted aesthetic theories as well as political, economic and social formations in the region.


February 28, 2019

Round Table: 7:30 - 9:30pm – Faculty House


March 1~2, 2019

Conference: 9:00am - 6:00pm - Lenfest Center for the Arts - Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room

Screening & Talk: 7:30pm - 10:30pm - Lenfest Center for the Arts - Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room



Moonim Baek, Professor of Korean Language & Literature, Director of Institute of Media Art at Yonsei University
Jaeho Kang, Associate Professor of Communication, Department of Communication, Seoul National University
Soyoung Kim, Professor of Cinema Studies, Korea National University of Arts; President of the Association of Korean Cultural Studies (2018-), Director of Trans Asia Screen Culture Institute, and Filmmaker
Travis Workman, Associate Professor, Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Weihong Bao, Associate Professor of Film and Media & East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of California-Berkeley
Laikwan Pang, Professor of Cultural Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Lingzhen Wang, Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, Brown University
Ho Lok Victor Fan, Senior Lecturer of Film Studies, King’s College, London
Yomi Braester, Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media, University  of Washington
Jason McGrath, Associate Professor, Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Daoxin Li, Professor of Film Studies, Peking University, Beijing, China

Aaron Gerow, Professor of Film Studies and East Asian Languages & Literatures, Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures, Yale University
Diane Wei Lewis, Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies, Washington University in St. Louis
Alexander Zhalten, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University
Yuriko Furuhata, Associate Professor, William Dawson Scholar of Cinema and Media History in the Department of East Asian Studies, Associate member of the Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University
Anastasia Fedorova, Associate Professor of Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies, Moscow Higher School of Economics


Co-sponsored by:

Film and Media Studies, School of the Arts; The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities; Weatherhead East Asian Institute; Dragon Summit Fund, C.V. Starr East Asian Library, Donald Keene Center for Japanese Studies; Center for Korean Research; Academy of Korean Studies; Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought; Center for Chinese Literature and Culture; Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures; Institute for Comparative Literature & Society; Division of Humanities in Arts and Sciences Columbia University; Center for Comparative Media; School of the Arts Dean’s Global Programs; Sites of Cinema Faculty Seminar; Permanent Seminar on Histories of Film Theories; Columbia University Press; Executive Vice President of Arts & Sciences Columbia University; Columbia Global Centers l Beijing