Lectures "'The American Walk': Global Contact, Gesture, Rhythm, and Poetry" and "Horror Old and New: Nakata Hideo’s Ringu (1998) between J-Horror and Hibakusha Cinema"

Monday, Apr, 11 2016 — 4:30 PM
At: Gailor Auditorium


The Mellon Globalization Forum and the organizers of "'Why All the Fuss about the Body?': An Interdisciplinary Conference on Local and Global/ized Bodies" invite all to two keynote lectures (double feature) by Dr. Haun Saussy, University of Chicago (Comparative Literature and East Asian Languages and Civilizations): "'The American Walk': Global Contact, Gesture, Rhythm, and Poetry," and by Dr. Olga V. Solovieva (University of Chicago, Comparative Literature): “Horror Old and New: Nakata Hideo’s Ringu (1998) between J-Horror and Hibakusha Cinema.“ Both lectures will take place consecutively on Monday, April 11, 2016, 4:30 p.m. at the Gailor Auditorium.

Keynote lecture by Dr. Haun Saussy, University of Chicago (Comparative Literature and East Asian Languages and Civilizations), Monday, April 11, 2016, 4:30 p.m., Gailor Auditorium

Lecture abstract: The invention of means of recording and measuring physiological processes allowed gestures (such as walking) to be stored and replayed. I take Marcel Mauss’s 1936 essay on “Techniques of the Body” to be testimony of a global circulation of gesture mediated by cinema, but also a methodological hint that all media, from oral recitation and writing on through print and emoticons, encrypt the memory of bodily movements. Indeed a gradual rediscovery of the body as a locus of action and thought formed one theme of modern culture before World War One. I trace this rediscovery through two parallel and opposed developments: the contagious propagation of free verse across the globe from the 1880s onward, and the rediscovery of oral-formulaic poetry as an art of memory by ethnographers and philologists.

Dr. Haun Saussy

Presenter bio: Dr. Haun Saussy is University Professor at the University of Chicago (Comparative Literature and East8 Asian Languages and Civilizations). His research interests include classical Chinese poetry and commentary; literary theory; comparative study of oral traditions; problems of translation; pre-twentieth-century media history; and ethnography and ethics of medical care. Dr. Saussy joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2011. He has previously taught at UCLA, Stanford, Yale, the City University of Hong Kong, the Université de Paris-III, and the University of Otago (New Zealand). He was president (2009-2011) of the American Comparative Literature Association. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Faculty Advisory Boards for two new initiatives at the University of Chicago: the Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society and the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, as well as of the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights.

An avid cyclist, Dr. Saussy discovered that long road trips favor the memorization of verb paradigms and lyric poetry, which happen to be two of his main intellectual interests. His books include The Problem of a Chinese Aesthetic (Stanford, 1993), Great Walls of Discourse and Other Adventures in Cultural China (Harvard University Asia Center, 2001), and co-edited volumes: Chinese Women Poets, An Anthology of Poetry and Criticism from Ancient Times to 1911 (Stanford, 1999), Comparative Literature in an Era of Globalization (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), Sinographies: Writing China (University of Minnesota Press, 2005), Chinese Walls in Time and Space (Cornell Asia Center, 2009), Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader (University of California Press, 2010), and Ferdinand de Saussure's Course in General Linguistics ( Columbia University Press, 2011). Together with César Dominguez and Darío Villanueva, he wrote Introducing Comparative Literature (London: Routledge, 2015). With then-graduate students Jonathan Stalling and Lucas Klein, he produced a critical edition of The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry, by Ernest Fenollosa and Ezra Pound (Fordham University Press, 2008). His next book, The Ethnography of Rhythm: Orality and Its Technologies (New York: Fordham University Press, 2016), discusses the history of the concept of oral literature through its relations to psychology, linguistics, literature and folklore. The co-edited and co-translated Selected Essays of Li Zhi,is forthcoming from Columbia University Press in 2016. Dr. Saussy’s personal web site can be found here:

Dr. Olga V. Solovieva's lecture title: “Horror Old and New: Nakata Hideo’s Ringu (1998) between J-Horror and Hibakusha Cinema“

Lecture abstract: The talk situates Nakata’s Ringu, adapted from Suzuki Koji’s novel of the same name, in the history of Japanese horror film, on the one hand, and in the context of the Japanese hibakusha cinema, dealing with the victims of the atom bomb from Children of the Atom Bomb (1952) to Kurosawa’s Rhapsody in August (1991), on the other. The talk shows how a cross-fertilization between the old, folkloric elements of horror and the forms of modern, technologically induced horror allows for an effective up-date of the horror genre specific to the context of contemporary Japan.


Presenter's bio: Olga V. Solovieva (Ph.D. Yale University) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago (Comparative Literature). Her work brings into dialogue texts and concepts from numerous disciplines, including literature, film, religious studies, art history, philosophy and law. She is interested in what can "be done with words": this leads her to focus on the history of rhetoric, performance, communication, interdisciplinary narratology, and media studies, particularly in their material and corporeal aspects. Her first book project, Christ’s Subversive Body: Practices of Religious Rhetoric in Culture and Politics, is dedicated to the diachronic and interdisciplinary methodology of comparison. It examines the rhetorical usages and the epistemological basis that the religious notion of Christ’s body has offered for alternative or subversive social and medial constructs at some critical junctures in the history of Western civilization. Her current book projects, The Russian Kurosawa and Thomas Mann’s Russia, examine the political, philosophical and mediating function of the reception of Russian literature in East and West. Before joining the faculty of Comparative Literature, she was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Committee on Social Thought. She contributes to, a collective blogzine on culture, politics, and academic life.

All events linked to the conference on "The Body" at Sewanee are free, open to the public, and have received generous support from the Dean of the College, Mellon Globalization Forum, University Lectures Committee, the departments and programs of Art and Art History, Asian Studies, English, Film Studies, French, German, History, Humanities, International and Global Studies, Italian, Politics, Religious Studies, Russian, Spanish, Women’s and Gender Studies, the Sewanee Union Theater, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Tennessee Williams Center, and Greenspace Studio.

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