Erin Y. Huang

Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature
Office Phone
236 Frist Campus Center
Office Hours

Office hours by email appointment only

  • Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine
  • M. Phil. in Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine
  • B.A. in Psychology, University of California, Davis
  • B.A. in Comparative Literature, University of California, Davis

Erin Yu-Tien Huang is Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature, and an executive member of Princeton’s Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities and Committee for Film Studies. She is the co-founder of Asia Theory Visuality—an intellectual platform that harbors collaborative thinking on experimental and theoretical approaches to Asian Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a Graduate Feminist Emphasis in Gender & Sexuality Studies from the University of California, Irvine. She is an interdisciplinary scholar and comparatist specializing in critical theory, Marxist geography, postcolonial studies, feminist theory, cinema and media studies, and Sinophone Asia.

Her first book, Urban Horror: Neoliberal Post-Socialism and the Limits of Visibility (Duke University Press, 2020), theorizes the expansion of Sinocentric neoliberal post-socialism, a deterritorialized form of market post-socialism taking place in and outside the People’s Republic of China that is actively shaping the lived conditions of the present. Asking what the post- in post-socialism means as a temporal and spatial imaginary that is fueling transterritorial infrastructural projects and financial speculations in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan from the 1990s to the present, the book examines the parallel emergence of the cinematic aesthetics of urban horror and the technologies of space that produced a new species of spaces, ranging from sprawling factory cities and science and industrial parks to zones of economic and political exception. These urban forms occupy the paradoxical role of being both the primary locations sustaining the transnational post-socialist economy and the visual basis for cultural critiques of economic, gender, and ethnic violence embedded in the social unconscious of post-socialist China and its economic partners. This study of contemporary Chinese cinemas argues that the meaning of the image itself has changed in the era of hypermediality: it has become the condition of reality, before reality can be real. The book explores the speculative forces of cinema as a phenomenological network of communication and the emergence of urban horror as a horizon of public sentiments that can shape future urban revolutions and rehearse the forces of resistance after the presumed end of revolutionary times.

Her second book project, tentatively titled Islands of Capital: The Aesthetic Life of Zones in Sino-Capitalism, explores the archipelagic and island studies approach to “China,” which is conventionally conceptualized as a land-based continent. The book defines “island” not as a natural or geographical location, but rather the evolving technology of the ocean, and specifically, “islanding” (in the verb form) that is programmed into the logistic infrastructure of military-industrial capitalism of the twentieth and twenty-first century. The islands of capital include special economic zones, container ports, inland logistics cities, waste processing zones, military bases, and artificial islands. Focusing on the specific history and materiality of these man-made islands, each chapter traces the unique “aesthetic life” of the zone that either propagates the militaristic vision of empires or proposes the potential of art as the medium of counter-aesthetics.

Select Publications:

“Ocean Media: Digital South China Sea and Gilles Deleuze’s Desert Islands,” Verge: Studies in Global Asias 7, no. 2 (2021): 177-203.

“Intimate Dystopias: Dreams of the Interior and Architectural Feminism in Li Shaohong’s Urban Cinema,” positions: asia critique 27, no. 2 (2019): 333-360.

 “Archaeologies of Post-Socialist Temporalities: Documentary Experiments and the Rhetoric of Ruin Gazing,” Journal of Chinese Cinemas 13, no. 1 (2019): 46-60.

Recent Interviews
“Urban Horror: Neoliberal Post-Socialism and the Limits of Visibility,” New Books Network. September 26, 2021. Podcast. 86 minutes.

“Urban Horror: A Conversation with Erin Y. Huang,” Made in China Journal  5.2 (Spectral Revolutions: Occult Economies in Asia), (2020): 260-265.

“Urban Horror: Neoliberal Post-Socialism and the Limits of Visibility,” Interstitial: A Show about Space and the Consequences of Our Designs, episode 40. June 23, 2020. Podcast. 13 minutes.

Book Chapter
“The De-Spectacular and Taiwanese Neo-Noir –Rebels of the Neon God and the Crime Cinema of Triviality,” East Asian Film Noir: Transnational Encounters and Intercultural Dialogue, eds. Chi-Yun Shin and Mark Gallagher (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015), 145-161.

Book Reviews
Review of Wendy Gan, Comic China: Representing Common Ground, 1890-1945 (Temple University Press, 2018). Reviewed in Comparative Literature Studies 58.2 (2021): 465-468.

Review of Jean Ma, Sounding the Modern Woman: The Songstress in Chinese Cinema (Duke University Press, 2015). Reviewed in Women’s Studies: An Inter-disciplinary Journal 46.1 (2017): 76-78.

Review of Michel Hockx, Internet Literature in China (Columbia University Press, 2015). Reviewed in The Journal of Asian Studies 75.2 (2016): 502-504. 

Chinese-to-English translation of “Cat Sickness,” by Li-Chun Huang. Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series, no. 49, special issue on “New Generation Women’s Writing from Taiwan. (forthcoming 2022)

Chinese-to-English translation of “Level A,” by Yongmei Huang. Words Without Borders: Special Issue—Olympic Voices from China. April 2008.

Courses Taught:

Militarized Aesthetics: War, Image, Asia
Asian Feminist Epistemologies: Theory and Embodiment
Ocean Media: Islanding, Space, Modernity
Seeing the Interior: Cinema, Media, Inverse Visuality

Cosmopolitan Her: Writing in Late Capitalism
Chinese Cinemas
Dangerous Bodies: Cross-Dressing, Asia, Transgression
Asian Urban Horror
Spectral Thinking in Modern Chinese Literature and Film
East Asian Humanities: Tradition and Transformation (team-taught)
Twentieth Century Chinese Literature: Affective Landscapes