Eric Cazdyn

Distinguished Professor of Aesthetics and Politics
In Person: Wednesdays 15:15 - 17:00, Northrop Frye Hall 324



Centre for Comparative Literature

Areas of Interest

  • Aesthetics and politics
  • Japanese film, literature, video and architecture
  • Utopia
  • Death and dying


Eric Cazdyn’s work focuses on critical and cultural theory, especially on questions of how art and politics relate to questions of time, subjectivity, and change. When he teaches, Cazdyn usually begins with a central problematic (such as “the Body” or “Japan” or “Architecture") and then tracks the problematic historically, with special attention given to how the problematic came-into-being and how it functions in different disciplines (humanities, social sciences, hard sciences). This approach inspires students to theorize the problematic for themselves, rather than merely apply criticism or theory—that is, it inspires students to creatively generate new thinking, rather than slavishly reproduce the norms of professionalized academic work. Together with teaching and writing (four authored books and two edited ones), Eric Cazdyn is also a filmmaker and artist. Since 2012, he has been engaged in a multi-faceted project called "The Blindspot Variations" for which he conceptualized and built a multi-camera system (a “blindspot machine”) that, instead of exposing blindspots (the desire of state surveillance), produces a new praxis of the blindspot itself. The central question of this work is: What might the reconceptualization of the blindspot teach us about how we look, how we think, how we desire, and how change occurs in the world? Cazdyn’s film work has been screened and performed in Japan, Canada, the US, Mexico, and throughout Europe. He has been Artist-in-Residence at the Cube Microcinema (Bristol), Gallery TPW (Toronto), and a Fellow at the American Academy of Rome.


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

Invited Lectures (selection from the past five years)

  • The Blindspot of Japan, The Japan Foundation, Toronto, January 29, 2020.
  • The Non Disclosure Act, McGill University, Montreal, Critical Social Theory Program, November 22, 2019.
  • The Blindspot of the Vanishing Point, keynote address for the Films Studies Association of Canada, February 15-18, 2019.
  • The Palliation of Japanese Studies, Keynote address for the 30th Anniversary of Japanese Studies (University of California, San Diego), February 21, 2019.
  • How to Film the Future, Lecture at the Institute of Critical Theory, Duke University, 19 April, 2018.
  • The Blindspot Variations V (version 4), UCLA, School of Architecture, 10 April 2017.
  • The Blindspot Variations V (version 3), CalArts, Lost Angeles, 8 April 2017. School of Critical Studies.
  • La Maquina de la ceguera, La Esmeralda Art School, Mexico City, 4 April 2017.
  • “AfterWorlds” for Engineered Worlds II conference, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA, May 12-14, 2017.
  • The Blindspot of the University, Lecture for University of British Columbia’s Social Justice Institute, Vancouver, Canada, 1 February 2017, 120 90 Minutes.
  • The Blindspot Variations V (version 1), Lecture for the School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada 31 January 2017.
  • Art and Politics, Lecture for the Oslo National Academy of Arts. Oslo, Norway, 21 November 2016.
  • Forms of Criticism symposium (University of Westminster, London UK) 30 June 2016, at Parasol Unit Gallery, London, UK.
  • The Blindspot of the Aftermath, Presentation at University of California, Berkeley, Feb 2016.
  • Lecture at Gallery TPW, Toronto, 28 January 2016.
  • “The Non-Coincidence of the Future”, talk at the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism, Western University, London, ON, Fall, 2015.
  • Post Global Futures, Centre for Philosophy, University of Tokyo, Japan, 23 April, 2015.


MA, Comparative Literature, University of California, San Diego
PhD, Literature, University of California, San Diego