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Seminar: Race, Ideology, and the Logistics of Perception: Cold War Optics in Asia
Date: 27 March 2013 

SMLC Seminar, School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Race, Ideology, and the Logistics of Perception: Cold War Optics in Asia

Dr. Steven Chung

Date: Mar 27, 2013
Time: 4:30 - 6:00pm
Venue: CPD-2.16, Centennial Campus, HKU

The focus of this paper is the codification of ideological difference in cinema and other visual media in the early stages of the cold war in Asia. The paper traces the emergence of the communist other in a multiplicity of images and screens that constituted the visual field: foreign newsreels and documentaries; domestic “cultural,” “scientific,” and “public information” films; commercial “neorealist” and “enlightenment” narrative films. It highlights within this body of work a double move to strip the other of its deceits and to the represent the self as natural. The ethnically same communist other therein surfaces as a different race from whom free and democratic society must be defended. These logistics of racial and ideological perception, critical components of cold war optics in Asia, are the central objects of this paper’s research.

Short bio;
Steven Chung is Assistant Professor in the East Asian Studies department at Princeton University. He focuses his research on Korean cinema, and is drawn especially to the relationship between politics and aesthetics in the film cultures of the late colonial through the early postwar periods. He has published articles in edited volumes – North Korea: Toward a Better Understanding (2009) and Democracy and Cinema (Korea) – and in the Journal of Korean Studies and Memory and Vision (Korea). Chung is finishing his first manuscript, The Split Screen: Sin Sang-ok and Postwar Korean Film Cultures and also beginning work on his next book, Cold War Optics: Asia.


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