Cazdyn, Eric

Eric Cazdyn (Ph.D., UC San Diego)

Distinguished Professor of Aesthetics and Politics
Department of East Asian Studies &
Centre for Comparative Literature
Office Phone: 416-585-4443
Office Location: Northrop Frye Hall 324

My work is driven by an irrepressible interest in the relation between culture and capitalism. To be precise, I am less interested in the political-economy of culture or in the culture of political-economy, than in the very problem of relation itself (the mediation of these two realms). How is capitalist crisis, for example, figured in literary form or in the framing of film shots (or in our very subjectivities), not to mention how aesthetic categories inform the making and consuming of (the desire for) capitalist commodities? These concerns have led me to the study of Japanese cinema and modern literature as well as to how national cultures more generally negotiate the larger context of globalization (The Flash of Capital: Film and Geopolitics in Japan (Duke, 2002), Trespasses: Selected Writings of Masao Miyoshi (Duke, 2010), and Something’s Missing: Seven Theses After Globalization (Blackwell, 2011)). More recently, I have been thinking deeply about psychoanalysis, with special attention on how we are contained by–and invariably break through—psychic/social formations. This has led to my most recently finished book on illness in which I study how contemporary medical practices and discourses, such as ones that redefine the chronic and the terminal, relate to contemporary cultural and political practices—from performance art and new media to new political collectives (The Already Dead: The New Time of Politics, Culture and Illness (Duke, 2011)). In my current project I re-think the problem of praxis (the relation between theory and practice) as I explore new experiments in medical care (palliation, psychotherapy, elder care), politics (activism, supra-national collectives) and art practice (film and dance).

Research Fields:

  • Critical and cultural theory, aesthetics and politics, Japanese film and modern Japanese literature, globalization, Marxism, psychoanalysis, and medical culture.

Academic Background:

  • MA in Comparative Literature, University of California, San Diego.
  • PhD in Literature, University of California, San Diego.


  • Recent articles have been published in Modern Language Quarterly, South Atlantic Quarterly, Social Text, Japan Forum, Alphabet City, Prefix, and the Review of Education/Pedagogy/Cultural Studies.
  • Major works include:
    -Cazdyn, Eric, The Already Dead: The New Time of Politics, Culture and Illness. Duke: Duke UP, 2011.
    -Cazdyn, Eric, and Imre Szeman. Something’s Missing: Seven Theses After Globalization. Blackwell, 2011.
    -Miyoshi, Masao and Eric Cazdyn. Trespasses: Selected Writings of Masao Miyoshi. Duke: Duke UP, 2010.
    -Cazdyn, Eric., ed. Disastrous Consequences (The South Atlantic Quaterly). Duke: Duke UP, 2007.
    -Cazdyn, Eric. The Flash of Capital: Film and Geopolitics in Japan. Duke: Duke UP, 2002.


  • Globalization and Culture, The Japanese Cinemas: Film Form and the Problems of Modernity;
  • Japanese Literature and the Nation; On Comparativity and Crisis.