Orange Alert

SU Humanities Center hosts lectures by renowned cultural critic March 27-28

Korean scholar Taek-Gwang Lee discusses East Asian cinema, Western visuality

March 26, 2012, by Rob Enslin

International cultural critic Taek-Gwang Lee is making two rare appearances at Syracuse University. On Tuesday, March 27, he will discuss “Towards Geo-Cinematology: Negotiating the Identity of East Asian Cinemas” at 4 p.m. in The SU Humanities Center Seminar Room (304) of the Tolley Humanities Building. The lecture is part of the Watson Visiting Collaborator Speaker Series, presented by The SU Humanities Center in The College of Arts and Sciences.

The following day at 11 a.m. in 202 Slocum Hall, Lee will speak about “Dutch Looking,” the next installment in The SU Humanities Center’s “IMAGES? Precisely!” lecture series. “IMAGES? Precisely!” is part of the center’s new three-year Transdisciplinary Humanities Project, led by Mark Linder, the inaugural Chancellor’s Fellow in the Humanities and associate professor in the School of Architecture.

Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, call The SU Humanities Center at 315-443-5708.

“We are proud to host Taek-Gwang Lee as a Watson Visiting Collaborator, in conjunction with the CNY Humanities Corridor,” says Gregg Lambert, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities and founding director of The SU Humanities Center. “His work is at the nexus of social and cultural theory, drawing on elements of French and German philosophy, Korean cinema, popular culture, politics and the fine arts.”

On March 27, Lee will attempt to define East Asian cinema by asking not what it is, but where it is. “There are many Asias, if you pursue a case study for Asian identity and culture,” continues Lambert. “The identity of Asia is really the invention of the modern world, particularly the post-war system stemming from American-centered geopolitics. As a result, East Asian countries, including China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, are caught in a struggle between traditional and Western values. The contest plays itself out in a myriad of cultural forms, including cinema.”

Lee’s March 28 lecture, “Dutch Looking,” will explore political aspects of Western visuality as they have been theorized in recent philosophy. “Lee's insights into the arguments and differences between modern-day thinkers, such as Jacques Rancière and Gilles Deleuze, and his ability to discern them in film, painting and visual culture is a valuable contribution to the ‘IMAGES? Precisely!’ series,” says Linder, author of “Nothing Less Than Literal: Architecture After Minimalism” (The MIT Press, 2004).

Lee is associate professor of British and American cultural studies at Kyung Hee University in Seoul (Korea). He is the author of more than a dozen books that address historical, social, political and economic topics, including the forthcoming “Realism, Marxism, and Postmodernism” and “The Objective Gaze of Vermeer’s Paintings.” Recently, Lee served as editor of “Deleuze and the Non-West” (Edinburgh University Press, 2011), a special issue of the journal “Deleuze Studies.” He earned a Ph.D. in cultural theory from the University of Sheffield (England).

“Professor Lee will make a valuable contribution to this series, which aims to encourage debates, affiliations and approaches in the humanities that invigorate, clarify and expand our understanding of their place in the academy and their public significance,” says Linder, who also teaches the “IMAGES” seminar in The SU Humanities Center. “Images are a fantastic topic for transdisciplinary thinking, which demonstrates the malleability of disciplinary identities by operating at the limits of expert knowledge, where disciplinary rigor is still possible, but claims of authority or mastery must be abandoned.”

The Transdisciplinary Humanities Project is an extension of the Trans-Disciplinary Media Studio (TdMS), a Chancellor’s Leadership Project that originated in 2009 between The SU Humanities Center and School of Architecture.

“The Transdisciplinary Humanities Project is both an evolution of and a departure from TdMS,” adds Lambert. “This project will engage with other areas of teaching and research on campus, including the digital humanities, which is both a new Excellence Initiative in The College and an ongoing project of The CNY Humanities Corridor.”

The SU Humanities Center, founded in 2008, fosters public engagement in the humanities, and is home to The CNY Humanities Corridor; The Mellon Visiting Collaborator and Jeanette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professorship programs; the HC Mini-Seminar and Syracuse Symposium Seminar series; and other research initiatives, annual fellowships and public programming.

Media Contact

Rob Enslin