2017 TALKS at the IACS-UST
Acting Chair, Professor, Film & Media Studies
School of Humanities, University of California, Irvine.
OCT/2 (MON) 15:00-17:00 NCTU
Neoliberalism, the Construction of Choice and the Populist Revolt
In this paper, I give an overview of the game theory, consumer choice and neoliberal hegemony in shaping our notions of freedom and sovereignty in the past three decades. ”Choice” for liberals and conservatives was considered the highest value in shaping an individual’s relationship to other: making choices was the primary activity of rational actors whose concerted activities were supposed to produce the highest value for all in the theory of free markets. There was a consensus that everyone had to be for the maximization of ‘choice.’ In the political crisis precipitated by the 2008 economic crisis, led to a popular rejection of the neoliberal consensus. I look back at the recent history of the populist/globalist framing of political choices and argue that a return to the Left critique is critical to grasping proper action the post-neoliberal era.
The Last Meritocrat: Campus Culture Wars and the Liberal Consensus Undone
This paper looks at the relationship between Barack Obama as the Last Meritocrat and the Campus Culture Wars that erupted during the last few years. I report on the ‘trigger’ warning scandals, the ‘mattress’ girl performance at Columbia University and the recent controversies and Evergreen State and I try to give a political and economic analysis of the crisis of meritocracy and the American professional managerial class’ attempts to cling to its identity at a time of political insurgency and economic turmoil
OCT/5 (THU) 10:00-12:00
“Work and Play in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Cinematic Universe”
In this paper, I look at Hou Hsiao-hsien’s career-long meditations on work and play in his cinematic universe. Using the theories of D. W. Winnicott instead of Jacques Lacan or traditional psychoanalytic film theory, I try to understand how Hou is creating a different kind of visual/temporal space in which the anxieties and pleasures of industrializing and de-industrializing Taiwan are positioned as reflections on the social frames of desire and identity.