Kritika Kultura, the refereed e-journal of language and literary/cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University, features a lecture by Dr. Mariam B. Lam. The event—part of the Kritika Kultura Lecture Series—is titled “The Cold Wave: Film and Media Development in Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos,” and will be on July 15, 2013, 4:30 to 6:00 PM at Faura Hall AVR in Ateneo de Manila University.
Lam’s abstract reads: “When we speak of national cinemas or multicultural or minor cinemas in postcolonial Southeast Asia, we invoke multiple war histories and resonant tensions between a varied European and East Asian colonial past, a North American imperial present, and a global cultural capitalist future. Understanding cultural production in the contemporary period requires a postcolonial and decolonial refashioning of approaches centered upon older formulations of ‘national cinema’ and ‘Third Cinema,’ both internally fraught movements always already in contestation with one another.
“Today, provocative cultural production and economic redevelopment are taking shape in peninsular Southeast Asia. The layered colonial and imperial histories of the three countries of Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos, or what was known as ‘Indochina’ under French colonial rule, and this region as a whole, impose certain constraints on the post-Cold War redevelopment of these three national film industries, while also allowing for unique transnational innovations. Southeast Asian peninsular films and filmmakers are cross-referencing one another’s economic developmental models, governmental initiatives, celebrity cross-over market potentials, connected land and aerial borders, East/West collaborations and North/South co-productions.
“I focus on ‘French Indochina’s’ present site of postcolonial redevelopment to draw attention to the shift from European colonialism to American-style global cultural imperialism and to argue for a different cultural theoretical regionalist trajectory following concepts by the late Édouard Glissant, Walter Mignolo, Kuan-Hsing Chen, Gayatri Gopinath and Ackbar Abbas. How do the current post-socialist and neoliberal circumstances both constrain cinematic activity and propel it into international waters and onto distant shores? What kinds of theoretical and methodological approaches are needed for analyzing the postcolonial lives and aesthetic layers embedded in these productions?”
Mariam B. Lam is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Media & Cultural Studies, and Director of the Southeast Asian Studies Research Program (SEATRiP) at the University of California, Riverside. She is founding Co-Editor of the Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Chair of the Southeast Asian Archive Board at UC Irvine, and an Advisory Board Member of the University of California Humanities Research Institute. Her monograph, entitled Precariat Reckoning: Viet Nam, Post-Trauma and Strategic Affect (forthcoming, Duke UP, 2014), analyzes cultural production and community politics within and across Viet Nam, France, and the US, and she is completing work on her second book, Surfin’ Southeast Asia: New Circulations of Cold War Culture and Global Capital.