[PAST EVENT] Post-socialism in Hong Kong: Zone Urbanism, Urban Horror, and Post-1997 Hong Kong Cinema

November 28, 2018
5pm - 6:30pm
Location
Washington Hall, Room 219
241 Jamestown Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Access & Features
  • Open to the public

This talk examines the condition of Chinese “(post-)socialism” in Hong Kong—a city without “socialist” legacies—as a way of addressing the emergent history of radical deterritorialization and reterritorialization in the era of the “post.” Proposing “zone urbanism” as a critical lens—a phenomenon of zoning that renders space into a programmable and reproducible spatial software—the presentation traces Hong Kong’s infrastructural revolution since the early 1980s that intimately connects the city to special economic zones in mainland China. From the controversial construction of New Hong Kong Airport to expressways, tunnels, and bridges designed to enhance the speed of movement in South China’s economic circles, “(post-)socialist” Hong Kong is arguably transformed into Southeast Asia’s transport super city and logistics hub. While recent scholarships on Hong Kong highlight the Umbrella Revolution in 2014 as the city’s protest against its loss of political sovereignty, this presentation probes a longer history of zone urbanism and traces the emergent aesthetics of infrastructural phenomenology in post-handover Hong Kong cinema. Problematizing the relationship between “Hong Kong” as a planned abstract space of transit and as a corporeal space under tremendous pressure to accommodate its human population, post-1997 Hong Kong cinema suggests a number of ways for re-experiencing, re-sensing, and touching the city’s infrastructural space while producing a plethora of experiences on the widening spectrum of movement and displacement. While focusing on the zoning phenomenon in South China, the talk theorizes (post-)socialism as a universalizing condition with regional differences that is creating new centers and peripheries.

Speaker's bio: Erin Y. Huang is Assistant Professor in East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature at Princeton University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar and a comparatist working on modern China and Sinophone studies. Her research interests broadly include cinema & media studies, Marxist urban theory, gender & sexuality studies, comparative socialisms and post-socialisms, and phenomenology. She is completing her first book, Urban Horror: Global Post-socialism, Chinese Cinemas, and the Limits of Visibility, where she theorizes urban horror as Marxist phenomenology, and an emergent horizon of affects that rehearses the potentiality of future urban revolutions after the supposed end of revolutionary times.