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“Sites of Cinema” takes a new approach to the question of cinema at the moment when cinema is said to be in decline, even in some accounts said to be facing its “death.” At this moment, when are focused on a convergence of moving image forms into a single delivery system we take up divergence over convergence, a divergence. Alternative to André Bazin’s question “What is Cinema?” “Sites of Cinema” will ask “Where is Cinema?” Where has it been seen to be and where will it be spaced in the future—as theoretical construct, national culture, material object, artistic work, social practice and space of exhibition. Cinema has moved and is still moving—from theatrical stages to museum walls, in and on buildings as well as within historical nations and regions of the world. “Sites of Cinema” signals our interest in site-specific cinemas plural but also cinema as a total apparatus—the “cinema of the mind” for the mass audience.

Professor Nico Baumbach

Professor Jane Gaines

Spandita Behera

All seminars will meet over Zoom for the 2020 fall semester. Meeting links provided upon RSVP. Meeting dates and times are subject to change. 

Meeting Schedule

09/25/2020 Online Meeting
2:00 PM
Here and Now: Queer Radical Changes through the Lens of Buddhism
Victor Fan, Kings College London (England, UK)


On March 31, 2020, I was asked by Queer Asia, a London-based cultural and research group, to be in their summer panel to discuss queer politics and radical changes. This opportunity inspired me to rethink how a Buddhist understanding of media can help us address two questions: (1) How can we initiate radical changes when politics and humanity seem to be beyond reparation? (2) Why is it important to think about the cinema at this moment and what can it do in the process of reparation?

Based on my forthcoming book Illuminating Reality (University of Minnesota Press), my presentation will address these two questions by using Zen Buddhism’s understanding of technicity-consciousness and the concept of here and now, and by establishing a conversation between these notions with Brian Massumi’s idea of ontopower. I am especially interested in examining how contemporary independent Chinese and Sinophone queer filmmakers mobilize similar thoughts and strategies as modes of political activism.

Respondent: Ronald Gregg, Columbia University

10/23/2020 Online Meeting
2:00 PM
Panel Discussion of 'Bombay Hustle: Making Movies in a Colonial City' by Debashree Mukherjee (Columbia University Press, 2020)
Jennifer M. Bean, University of Washington

Nitin Govil, University of Southern California

Debashree Mukherjee, Columbia University