Chair, Committee on Regional Studies East Asia (RSEA), 2021-22
Alexander Zahlten's research interests center on film and audiovisual culture in East Asia, with a focus on Japan. His work explores fundamental shifts in how we engage with media through the connections between larger economic, social, and institutional structures and media aesthetics. Zahlten is especially interested in the experience of media ecologies, and his recent work touches on topics such as film's connections to other media, 'amateur' production, or the history of the connection of electricity and the film industry in Japan.
Zahlten's publications have examined the role of postcolonial fantasy in Korean “remakes" of Japanese films, the role of a character such as Doraemon as shared media memory in East Asia, the metaphors of world in the media mix environment of Japan, the history of German sexploitation cinema, or poststructuralist media theory in 1980s Japan. Recently, Zahlten has co-edited the volume Media Theory in Japan (Duke University Press, 2017). His monograph The End of Japanese Cinema: Industrial Genres, National Times, and Media Ecologies (Duke University Press, 2017) maps developments in film and media culture in Japan from the 1960s - 2000s as a whole through the genres of pink film, Kadokawa film, and V-Cinema. He has curated film programs for the German Film Museum, the Athénée Français Cultural Center, Tokyo, Parasophia Festival of Contemporary Culture (Kyoto), or the AAS in Asia Conference in Kyoto and was Program Director for the Nippon Connection Film Festival, the largest festival for film from Japan, from 2002 to 2010.
Alexander Zahlten received his Ph.D. in Film Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany in 2007. He conducted dissertation research at Nihon University (2003-2005) and postdoctoral research at Meiji Gakuin University (2009-2011). Zahlten was Assistant Professor in the Department of Film & Digital Media of Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea for one and a half years before joining Harvard in 2012.
See also: East Asian Media Ecologies