Welcome Professor Erin Huang!

September 6, 2023 by Gemma Childs

The Department of East Asian Studies extends a warm welcome to our newest faculty member, Assistant Professor Erin Huang. 

Joining the department from Princeton University, Erin will be teaching three new courses this fall semester in the area of gender and sexuality studies, including EAS296H1F: Dangerous Bodies: Crossings in Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her wider areas of interest include maritime capitalism and militarism, cinema and media, and Transnational Chinese and Sinophone studies. 

She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and a certificate of advanced Feminist Studies in Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Her work in general probes the relationship between aesthetics and politics, raising questions about the mediation of power through literary, visual, and media practices. Her areas of study center on twentieth- and twenty-first-century China, Sinophone Asia (Hong Kong and Taiwan), and the transpacific relationship between Chinese and American empires.

Erin is the author of Urban Horror: Neoliberal Post-Socialism and the Limits of Visibility (Duke University Press, 2020), a work of affect theory, film studies, and post-Cold War China and Sinophone Asia. The book transforms the conventional approach to horror as a genre and refocuses on “urban horror” as the name of a spectrum of affects and feelings that exceed the norms of comprehension and therefore challenge the existing sensory regime that is conditioned by political norms. It is the first study of Chinese and Sinophone film and media culture to focus on the speculative and specifically affective powers of moving images and their ability to rehearse and generate new aesthetic forms of resistance that are specific to the era of the post-.

She is currently working on her second book, tentatively titled Islands of Capital: Media Aesthetics of Zones across Militarized Oceans. Introducing a new direction in Sino-postcolonial environmental media studies, her approach to “islands” and “oceans” differs from the study of natural geographical island cultures and focuses on zones and other “technologies of the ocean” developed by global empires in the history of maritime capitalism. The project draws attention to the militarized oceans in the Pacific and the contested region of the South China Sea that is known as the site of global conflict between the United Stated, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. Tracing the “ocean” as “media” in contemporary maritime capitalism and global warfare, the project critiques the conventional claims of territory and introduces an archive of anti-colonial eco-media, including maritime photography, environmental documentary, indigenous auto-ethnography, and queer feminist art, among others.

Welcome to the department, Erin!