Colloquium | Michelle Cho

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - 12:00pm

Michelle Cho

Genre Worlds

This talk comes from the introduction to my book project, Genre Worlds: The Politics of Form in Millennial South Korean Cinema, in which I read genre form, since the late 1990s, as a field of articulation and a defense against the reification of national narratives in the era of segyehwa (the Korean term for cultural and economic globalization). The activity of “worlding” is fundamental to South Korea’s globalization drive (segyehwa literally translates as “becoming world”). I argue that genre cinemas share this worlding capacity, both in a quotidian sense of constructing cinematic narrative worlds, but also in the transnational legibility of genre conventions by which “global cinema” is understood and consumed. Moreover, by giving form to a mode of spectatorship in which a reflexive understanding of genre aesthetics grounds the sensation of immediacy through affective absorption, film genre posits a particular kind of subject as the analogical base for global community, made possible by genre cinemas’ repeated, imaginative convergence of the personal/social, individual/collective, interior/exterior, and private/public.

Michelle Cho is an Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and World Cinemas at McGill University. Her writing on gender, genre, celebrity culture, and self-reflexive media appears in Cinema Journal, Acta Koreana, The Korean Popular Culture Reader, Hallyu 2.0: The Korean Wave in the Age of Social Media, and Simultaneous Worlds: Global Science Fiction. She is completing a book that analyzes the form and function of South Korean genre cinemas since the late 1990s, and developing new work on Asian-American and South Korean video and television that focuses on celebrity labor, "Korean Wave" discourse, minority representation, and media convergence to examine the relationship between pop culture and post-politics.

Cinema Studies Program
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