Urban Horror: Post-socialist Hong Kong Cinema
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Erin Huang, Assistant Professor, East Asian Studies, Comparative Literature, Princeton University - This talk examines the global condition of “post-socialism” in Hong Kong—a city without a “socialist” legacy—as a way of addressing the trans-territorial history of spatial violence 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—this talk traces Hong Kong’s infrastructural revolution, which since the early 1980s has intimately connected the city to special economic zones in the People’s Republic of China. From the controversial construction of the new Hong Kong International Airport to expressways, tunnels, and bridges designed to speed up movement in south China’s economic circles, post-socialist Hong Kong has been transformed into southeast Asia’s transport super city and logistics hub. While recent scholarship highlights the Umbrella Revolution in 2014 as Hong Kong’s protest against its loss of political sovereignty, this talk probes a longer history of zone urbanism and traces the emergent aesthetics of urban horror in Hong Kong cinema after the handover. 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 to re-experience and re-sense the city’s infrastructural space across a widening spectrum of movements and displacements. The talk focuses on the zoning phenomenon in south China while theorizing post-socialism as a universalizing but regionally distinct condition that creates new centers and peripheries.
Video of full lecture with presentation slides edited into the video.
Cornell East Asia Program
East Asia Program, Cornell University
history; East Asia; China; Hong Kong; post-socialism
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Closed captions available
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