Keynote lecture: “Explorations of Modernity in Japanese Film Theory.”
13th September, 13:20-14:50

Aaron Gerow is Professor of East Asian cinema and culture at Yale University. His books include Visions of Japanese Modernity: Articulations of Cinema, Nation, and Spectatorship, 1895-1925 (2010); Research Guide to Japanese Film Studies (co-authored with Markus Nornes, 2009 [Japanese version 2016]); A Page of Madness: Cinema and Modernity in 1920s Japan (2008); and Kitano Takeshi (2007). His co-edited anthology Rediscovering Classical Japanese Film Theory—An Anthology (in Japanese) appeared in 2018.


“Explorations of Modernity in Japanese Film Theory”


It is probably of no surprise that film theory, the field that aims to understand arguably 20th century modernity’s most prominent medium, has been largely Eurocentric, despite the fact that many regions, including Japan, possessed a rich history of film theoretical inquiry. Given that film theory has also been a channel for investigating the modernity cinema represents, as well as the modernism both embodied in films or influenced by film, that has meant that concepts of both modernity and modernism in film theory have also been Eurocentric. In this talk, I would like to ask what it would mean for the study of modernity and modernism to begin viewing it through a non-European legacy of film theory:that of Japan. If Japanese film theory of the interwar years, as I argue, exhibits significant trends questioning cinema, spectatorship, and theory, what could be the modernism emerging from that?