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Second Network Symposium

The second of our network symposia took place online on Saturday 16 September. We are pleased to share the recording of the event below.

The topic of this symposium was the ‘practices’ of film theory, prompting discussion of the porous boundary between theory and practice, with practice being understood in a broad manner to encapsulate not only filmmaking but also the curatorial and archival work central to our research. The ‘practices’ of theory also include what we do with theory, not only as researcher-practitioners but as teachers, with the teaching of theory in a global context necessitating engagement with questions of translation, of how theory can travel across languages as well as cultural and geopolitical borders. Finally, ‘practices’ span film programming, film criticism, and publishing, all of which are crucial to the mechanisms through which theory circulates. Four short texts were circulated in advance:

Aaron Gerow, ‘Decentering Theory: Reconsidering the History of Japanese Film Theory,’ Special Issue, Review of Japanese Culture and Society 22 (December 2010). ‘Introduction: The Theory Complex,’ pp. 1-13.

Aaron Gerow, ‘Theorizing the Theory Complex in Japanese Film Theory,’ Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema, Vol. 11, Number 2 (2019) pp. 103-108.

Usha Iyer, ‘A Pedagogy of Reparations: Notes Toward Repairing the Film and Media Studies Curriculum,’ Feminist Media Histories, Vol. 8, Number 1, pp. 181-193.

Zhang Nuanxin and Li Tuo, ‘The Modernization of Film Language,’ Translated in George S. Semsel, Xia Hong and Hou Jianping, eds., Chinese Film Theory: A Guide to the New Era (Westport: Praeger, 1990), pp. 10-20.


2-2.30pm: Welcome

Session 1: 2.30-3.50pm

Chair: Sarah Cooper

Presentations followed by discussion:

Liz Wijaya (Toronto): ‘“The Most Intimate Life is Held in Reserve”: Southeast Asian Film Coproduction Today’

Kim Hieyoon (Wisconsin-Madison): ‘Toward a New Cinema: The Seoul Film Collective’s Aesthetic and Political Subversion’

Jason McGrath (Minnesota): ‘Theory, Practice, Translation, and Belatedness: China between the Cultural Revolution and Reform Era’

Session 2: 4-5.30pm

Chair: Aboubakar Sanogo

Presentations followed by discussion:

Network guest Ravi Vasudevan (Co-founder & co-director of Sarai): On Popular Practices, Embodied Concepts, and South Asian Screen Studies

David Wood (National Autonomous University of Mexico) with network guest Maite Conde (Jesus College, Cambridge): ‘From Film Archiving to Film Theory: Paulo Emílio Salles Gomes at the Cinemateca Brasileira and Manuel González Casanova at the Filmoteca UNAM’


Part I

Part II