Session Abstract: Although the Cold War is considered a global conflict, Asia has been much less covered in the cultural Cold War literature, most of which focus on US cultural policy and is centered on Europe. Similarly, while there is an emerging body of scholarship on the Cold War in Asia, little of this work deals with the cultural fronts of the war. Specifically, the film cultures and industries in Asia during this period have largely been overlooked.
This panel addresses this forgotten history of Asia to reveal an important piece in the larger history of the cultural, political, and institutional linkages between the US, Europe, and Asia during the Cold War. Six distinctive yet interrelated topics unpack the entangled and complex histories of film, history and politics in Asia. Sangjoon Lee offers new insights into the rise of film organization and the Southeast Asia Film Festival as a regional alliance summit in Asia. Man-Fung Yip dissects the aesthetics and ideology in the representation of landscapes in Vietnamese revolutionary cinema. Evelyn Shih interrogates the counter-Americanism in musical numbers in films in Taiwan and Korea from the 1960s. Elizabeth Wijaya offers a provocative reading of speculative Cold War histories in Yosep Anggi Ngoen's The Science of Fictions and Daniel Hui's Snakeskin. Darlene Espena locates the films of Sihanouk and Rithy Panh within the context of Cambodia's history of decolonization and nation-building during the Cold War. Overall, these papers offer critical readings of cinema as a nexus in the cultural Cold War in Asia.
Paper Presenter: Sangjoon Lee – Nanyang Technological University
Paper Presenter: Man-Fung Yip – University of Oklahoma
Paper Presenter: Evelyn Shih – University of Colorado, Boulder
Paper Presenter: Elizabeth Wijaya – University of Toronto
Paper Presenter: Darlene Machell D. Espena – Singapore Management University