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Visiting Scholar Programme 2016: Dr. Esther Peeren

The Centre for Popular Culture in the Humanities was proud to host Dr. Esther Peeren from the University of Amsterdam as a Visiting Scholar from April 11-13, 2016.

Dr. Esther Peeren is Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, Vice-Director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) and Vice-Director of the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies (ACGS). With Jeroen de Kloet, she is also series editor of Palgrave Studies in Globalization, Culture and Society.

She is the author of The Spectral Metaphor: Living Ghosts and the Agency of Invisibility (Palgrave, 2014) and Intersubjectivities and Popular Culture: Bakhtin and Beyond (Stanford UP, 2008), and co-editor of The Shock of the Other: Situating Alterities (Rodopi, 2007),Representation Matters: (Re)Articulating Collective Identities in a Postcolonial World (Rodopi, 2010), Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture (Continuum, 2010) and The Spectralities Reader (Bloomsbury, 2013).

Her research on globalisation focuses on how processes of globalisation influence the formation and representation (in literature, film, and television) of marginal subjectivities, on the underilluminated impact of globalisation on rural areas, and on the changing relationship between centres and peripheries.

During her visit, she offered three events that were open to both faculty and students:

(11 April) Workshop: How To Do Cultural Analysis

Date: 11.04.2016 (Mon)

Time: 11:30-13:30

Venue: D4-G/F-04


Cultural analysis is an interdisciplinary approach that offers a way to analyse many types of cultural objects: from literature, film and television to music, theater, advertisements, news reports, billboards, official documents, festivals, etc. It approaches these objects according to four main principles:

1) always look closely;

2) do not think that you already know what your object is or how you will interpret it, but allow the object to surprise you;

3) be aware of the assumptions you bring to the object because of your background and the context in which you analyze it;

4) when using a theory or concept in your analysis, do not just ask what the theory/concept says about the object, but also ask whether the object teaches you something new about the theory/concept.

(12 April) Lecture: Peripheral Visions in the Globalizing Present

Date: 12.04.2016

Time: 12:30-14:30

Venue: D1-LP-06

Respondent: Dr. Heidi Huang, Department of English, Hong Kong Baptist University


Does it still make sense to speak of centers and peripheries? Globalization discourses, whether proposing a flattened world or one traversed by disjunctive flows, tend to stress the inadequacy of center-periphery models. Yet it seems impossible to understand the globalizing present without making some distinction between what is (becoming) central and what is (becoming) peripheral in geographical, political, economic, social and/or cultural terms. This lecture shifts the focus from the central and ask how today’s peripheries are lived, imagined and mobilized in strategic ways, arguing that peripheries are invaluable for creating alternative perspectives on the globalizing present and also impact what is central by its interconnected realms of revelation, innovation and futurity.

(13 April) Workshop: Spectrality and Literature

Date: 13.04.2016 (Wed)

Time: 18:30-20:30

Venue: B4-LP-05


The “spectral turn” of the 1990s put ghosts and haunting center stage as conceptual metaphors able to illuminate various phenomena involving a sense of simultaneous absence and presence, materiality and immateriality. Much of the force of the spectral metaphor was derived from literary accounts featuring literal ghosts, including Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. In turn, Julian Wolfreys has applied the spectral metaphor to literature in order to argue that it is itself an inevitably haunted realm. This workshop aims to explore the close relationship between spectrality and literature as well as the benefits, risks and potential of such an approach.

Esther Peeren will provide an introduction to her book The Spectral Metaphor: Living Ghosts and the Agency of Invisibility, which deals with these questions, leading into a discussion based on three readings distributed in advance of the workshop:

  • María del Pilar Blanco and Esther Peeren, “Introduction: Conceptualizing Spectralities.” The Spectralities Reader: Ghosts and Haunting in Contemporary Cultural Theory. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. 1-27.
  • Jacques Derrida, “Injunctions of Marx” (excerpt). Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, & the New International. 1993. Trans. Peggy Kamuf. London and New York: Routledge, 1994. 3-12.
  • Julian Wolfreys, “Preface: On Textual Haunting.” The Spectralities Reader: Ghosts and Haunting in Contemporary Cultural Theory. Ed. María del Pilar Blanco and Esther Peeren. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. 69-74.



香港流行文化的變與不變 — 由毛記電視分獎典禮說起 (Changes & Constants of Hong Kong Popular Culture and the TV Most Award Show)

Date: 21 March 2016 (Mon)

Time: 16:00-17:30

Venue: D1-LP-06

Language: Cantonese, with simultaneous interpretation in English



眾所周知,香港流行文化曾經輝煌,卻已今非昔比。曾經的明星陸續殞落,過去的大台漸被嫌棄。迎面而來的,是一個強調網絡、分眾的新流行年代。 月前毛記電視分獎典禮大受歡迎,全城哄動,正是新時代的標誌。當下香港流行文化的世界究竟是怎樣?相較舊秩序,它變的是什麼?不變乃至永恆的,又是什麼?

講者:阿果,《立場新聞》專題記者,《明報》星期日生活專欄作者。香港大學社會學系畢業,著有《拾年紀:香港流行年代誌 (2000-2010)》。鍾情流行文化,肉緊大眾媒介。


Changes & Constants of Hong Kong Popular Culture and the TV Most Award Show

It is common knowledge that the once splendid Hong Kong popular culture has passed its peak. Former stars are diminishing and old canons of television production ridiculed. What lies ahead is a new era of popular culture that values digital networks and segmented audienceship. The alternative award show “TV Most First Guy Ten Big Ging Cook Gum Cook Awards Distribution” organised by the creative studio TV Most earlier this year was a tremendous hit across town, and could very well be the symbol of this new age. How exactly could we conceive local popular culture right here, right now? What has evolved from the old order? What are the unchanged and the constants?

Speaker: Ah Guo, feature reporter of Stand News and columnist of Sunday Ming Pao. Graduated from the Department of Sociology, University of Hong Kong. Author of the book “A Decade: Notes on Hong Kong Popular Culture (2000-2010)”. Fond of popular culture and mass media.

University Francophone Film Festival

In collaboration with the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong & Macau, The Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages and Centre for Popular Culture in the Humanities is pleased to present the University Francophone Film Festival. Being a part of the Francophonie Festival 2016, four selected films will be shown at HKIEd campus on Wednesday nights in March. Featuring couples struggling with socio-cultural differences and warfare, a cat that is eager to talk about religion and homeless wanderers in the most beloved cosmopolitan, they present four diverse visions from the francophone region.


Details of the film screenings are as follows:


Dates: Wednesdays in March

Time: 19:30-21:30

Venue: D1-LP-02

Subtitles are in English.

No ticket purchase or registration is required, all are welcome!


02 March

Pas son genre

(Not My Type) 111 mins, Comedy, 2014

A young philosophy teacher from Paris is sent to Arras for a year. He meets a pretty hair stylist who becomes his lover. They could share this perfect romance if their cultural and social differences were not as deep.



09 March

Une bouteille à la mer

(A Bottle in the Gaza Sea) 100 mins, Drama, 2011

She is Israeli, he Palestinian. She lives in Jerusalem, he in Gaza. Separated by a mere sixty miles between them, how many bombings, check-points, sleepless nights and bloodshed stand in the way?



16 March

Le chat du rabbin

(The Rabbi’s Cat) 100 mins, Animation, 2011

In an Algerian Jewish community during the 1920s, a Rabbi finds that his cat has gained the ability to speak after swallowing a talking parrot and expresses its desire to convert to Judaism.



23 March

Au bord du monde

(The Edge of the World) 98 mins, Documentary, 2014

Paris at night… this is where the homeless people live. They haunt the streets, bridges, and corridors in the metro. On the edge of the world where society no longer offers protection, they face us and they talk.



For enquiries, please contact Dr. Grégoire Winterstein


Click here to learn more about the Francophone Festival 2016 which also offers activities related to literature, theatre and music etc.


University Francophone Film Festival - HKIEd

預/寓言?想像《十年》後的香港 Prophecy/Parable? Imagining Hong Kong in “Ten Years”

日期: 23-2-2016

時間: 16:00-17:30

地點: D1-LP-06


(Please scroll down for English)

獨立電影《十年》被譽為香港的「超現實警世預言書」,亦有人主張其中的某些故事其實不是預言,而是對現時、現實的回應。電影中五部短片以迴異的電影語言和視覺風格大膽回應政治和衝突,言簡意駭,引起各式詮釋。流行文化與人文學研究中心有幸邀請到其中幾位導演和編劇與專研香港電影文化的香港大學比較文學系講師羅玉華博士對談,深入分享創作緣由和心得。如你對《十年》、電影、故事書寫、藝術、本土文化有興趣, 此座談會都會是難得的經驗。









Date: 23-2-2016

Time: 16:00-17:30

Venue: D1-LP-06

The independent film Ten Years” has been praised by some as a surrealist prophetic admonition” to Hong Kong, and many have seen it as a response to the citys current conflicts and unique postcolonial identity. Using a range of cinematic techniques and visual styles, the five short sequences boldly address the political conflicts leaving much room for multiple interpretations. The Centre for Popular Culture in the Humanities is pleased to present some of the film’s directors and screenwriters in conversation with Dr. Fiona Law, a scholar specialising in Hong Kong film culture.

The seminar would be conducted in Cantonese, with simultaneous interpretation in English


Guest list:

KWOK Zune, Director of “Extras”

WONG Fei-Pang, Director and Screenwriter of “Season of the End”

NG Ka-Leung, Director and Screenwriter of “Local Egg”

Fiona Law, Lecturer of the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Hong Kong,












10:30 開場簡介 (5 mins)
10:35 角色設計心得分享、指導學員設計一個代表自己的角色 (50mins)
11:25 小休 (5 mins)
11:30 時事入畫心得分享、主持一件集體創作作品 (30mins)
12:00 完結


爵爵&貓叔與黃宗儀教授座談會: 插畫、城市、個體與網絡文化

日期: 03-03-2016

時間: 15:30-17:00

地點: D1-LP-04, 香港教育學院

語言: 國語/廣東話


網絡社交平台讓插畫家脫離傳統媒體框架, 自由發表畫作抒發己見、與讀者直接交流。 在香港大受歡迎的插畫家團隊爵爵與貓叔, 擅長以黑白色為主調的俐落風格訴說趣事和時事,又以銳利的異鄉目光描繪城市百態, 在Facebook連載成《台港大不同》系列。