Entanglements, or Transmedial Thinking About Capture

Rey Chow

How might the pornographic be associated with Brecht's and Benjamin's media theories? How are Foucault's and Deleuze's writings on visibilities "postcolonial"? What happens when Rancière's discussions of art are juxtaposed with cultural anthropology? What does a story by Lao She about collecting reveal about political collectivism in modern China? How does Girard's notion of mimetic violence speak to identity politics? How might Arendt's and Derrida's reflections on forgiveness be supplemented by a film by Lee Chang-dong? What can Akira Kurosawa's films about Japan say about American Studies? How is Asia framed transnationally, with what consequences for those who self-identify as Asian?

In this John Hope Franklin Center book, literature professor Chow ask these questions are that dispersively heterologous yet mutually implicated. This paradoxical character of their discursive relations is what she intends with the word "entanglements," by which she means, first, an enmeshment of topics: the mediatized image in modernist reflexivity; captivation and identification; victimhood; the place of East Asia in globalized Western academic study. Beyond enmeshment, she asks, can entanglements be phenomena that are not defined by affinity or proximity? Might entanglements be about partition and disparity rather than about conjunction and similarity?