Lilian Kong

Cohort Year: 2020
Research Interests: China
Education: BA: Stanford University, East Asian Studies + Film and Media Studies, 2018 MA: University of Chicago, 2020


My research, which most often takes a comparative, trans-cultural approach, centers on contemporary Mainland Chinese film and visual media. I have been fascinated by emergent aesthetic forms and vocabularies that are shaping contemporary Chinese popular culture, which is of course always engaged in titillating dances with globalizing, ever-changing forms of Chinese state-management. In my undergraduate career, I took state control, nationalism and national identity as the core of my research. Much has changed. As of now, I hope to think about contemporary global visual media circulations at large with Chinese networks at their center, in terms of visual aesthetics, global politics, and cultural worldviews.

Current theoretical interests include media, atmosphere, vernacular modernism, and cultural/aesthetic critique in post-modern and late capitalist contexts. Broader interests include socialist era Chinese film and culture, and contemporary Korean popular culture.

Past research has focused on topics ranging from the use of melodrama in the works of sixth generation Chinese filmmakers (Jia Zhangke and Lou Ye) to the political implications of Wolf Warrior II’s aesthetic- and production-level relation with the Marvel Franchise.