Ghostly Sightings: hauntology and spectrality in East Asian gothic cinema (Public Lecture, 15th March)


Still from Rigor Mortis, a Hong Kong horror film directed by Juno Mak (2013)
Still from Rigor Mortis, a Hong Kong horror film directed by Juno Mak (2013)

Many Western viewers may experience East Asia only via the screen, especially in cinematic genres such as gothic cinema. But what are the problems and biases inherent in this perspective? Come along on Tuesday 15th March at 18.15, in Elvet Riverside 140, to hear Dr Colette Balmain (Kingston University, London) explain.

Drawing on the figure of the ghost in Japanese, South Korean, Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwanese cinema and the work of Derrida on hauntology, this lecture will explore how spectral haunting pushes the limits of Western understanding about East Asia while at the same time allows us insights into how [official] history manipulates and erases identities in the process of modern nation making. This nation building is on one hand an act of commodification in relation to the West whose nostalgic desire for a ‘traditional’ East, the East is more than happy to provide, while on the other hand provides a mechanism through which to disavow past atrocities, committed by both East and West. It is through speaking with ghosts that we can acknowledge our own complicity with such nostalgic and touristic representations of the ‘East’

Due to popular demand, two more lectures have been added to this series. Professor Douglas Davies will explore Embodied Shadows: sculpted memory, sensed presence, and the third party on May 3rd, and Dr Michael Mack will talk on Thinking Through Ghosts and Contaminations: The Cases of Henry James and Alfred Hitchcock on May 10th. Follow us for more details. Podcasts from the first lectures in the series are available now.


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