Colloquium | Weihong Bao

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 12:00pm

Weihong Bao

What is an Environment? Set Design Thinking in Chinese Film and Theater

This talk explores an environmental notion of the medium by tracking the rise of environment as a problem of epistemology, technology, and aesthetics in early twentieth century China at the twin development of environmental thinking and set design in film and theater.

Weihong Bao is associate professor in the Departments of Film and Media and East Asian Languages and Cultures, UC Berkeley. She works in the areas of film theory and history, media archaeology, and political philosophy. Her teaching and research interests cover comparative media history and theory, early cinema, war and modernity, affect theory, propaganda theory and practice, Chinese language cinema of all periods and regions, historical screen and exhibition practice as well as transnational genre cinema, documentary, and the intersection between film and media. She is the author of Fiery Films: The Emergence of an Affective Medium in China, 1915-1945 (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), which is a finalist for the Modernist Studies Association Best Book Prize in 2016. Her writings appear in such journals as Camera Obscura, New German Critique, Representations, ZMK, Nineteenth Century Theater and Film, Opera Quarterly, The Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, American Anthropologist, Dangdai dianying, and Yingshi wenhua as well as The Blackwell Companion to Chinese Cinema. She has held fellowships from UC Berkeley, Harvard University, and the Getty Research Institute and served as a senior fellow at the Internationale Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie (IKKM), Germany and a Macgeorge Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She serves on the editorial board for Journal of Visual Culture and Feminist Media History and co-edits The Journal of Chinese Cinemas and the “film theory in media history” book series published by Amsterdam University Press. She is currently working on a book length study tentatively entitled, “Background Stories: The Discovery of Environment in Chinese Film and Theater.” Side research projects include the geopolitics of film theory and cultural constructions of secrecy as media theory and history.

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