Call for Papers – Issue of Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies on Genre in Asian Cinema

US audiences in the late 1960s found themselves startled that three low-budget Italian films shot in the deserts of Spain could revive the dormant Western, unaware that Europe had been producing their own “Cowboy” films since the early 1900s. The 2011 Busan International Film Festival showcased Westerns from Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, India, and China. The dissemination of this mode does not, however, attest to any “universality” of western values nor a capitulation to a cultural hegemony. Quite the contrary, such adaptation and localization reveals genre to be not so much a quasi-Platonic form as a negotiation—a range of signifying practices, a variable and dynamic template for affective narrative mapping of communal fantasies and realities.

Cinematic genres are characteristically, perhaps necessarily porous. While specific genres may share a set of seemingly stable features, genres are nevertheless ongoing processes that change over time and in relation to other systems of cultural production. This instability makes genre an effective category for analyzing cinema as a complex series of negotiations between the audience and the film, shifting cultural and political contexts, national ideologies, and economic imperatives. The regions that cinematic genres traverse are also, much like genres themselves, constructed categories that articulate relations, demarcate boundaries, and reinforce or disrupt dominant narratives. The study of genre in Asian cinema thus offers a starting point for rethinking how cinema reflects, mediates, and reproduces shifting relations within Asia as well as between Asia and other regions in the world.

Indeed, examining Asian cinematic genres allows us to ask: how does the transnational production of cinema shape discourses on Asia, and vice versa? How do cinematic genres represent and shape regional narratives within Asia—between, for example, East and Central Asia? How do genres reinforce or disrupt notions of race and ethnicity within national or transnational contexts? How does the codification and transgression of genre conventions intersect with discourses on and performances of gender?

For this issue of Concentric, guest editors Patrick Noonan (Northwestern University, USA) and Earl Jackson (National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan) invite submissions that take up such questions in critically examining genre in Asian cinema. We also look forward to receiving articles that seriously engage with genres whose global modes are already accepted: how does the gangster film function differently in Hong Kong and Korea, for example? Or the horror film across South East Asia? And what of the genres that are more culturally embedded such as the Korean Continental Action Film, or the Telugu-language Devotional? We envision this issue as a forum for a new Inter-Asian critical polylogue, an exchange across various regions of situated knowledges and interpretative engagements.

Please send complete papers of 6,000-10,000 words, 5-8 keywords, and a brief biography to by July 31, 2019. Manuscripts should follow the latest edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Except for footnotes, which should be single-spaced, manuscripts must be double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman. Please consult our style guide here.