Collegiate Assistant Professor, Humanities
Core: Reading Cultures
Nadine Chan received her PhD in Cinema and Media studies with a certificate in Visual Studies from the University of Southern California. Her areas of research include: media historiography and theory, postcolonial and new empire studies, environmental humanities, visual studies, media anthropology, nontheatrical film, Southeast Asian film and media, cultural studies.
Her first monograph-in-progress, Cinema Under the Palms: Colonial Education in an Unruly Medium theorizes cinema as an “unruly medium” through the study of colonial educational films in British Malaya and Singapore from the 1910s to the present. While the book argues for a new genealogy of cinema that locates its technologies, theories, and aesthetics as an extension of the logics and material practices of late colonialism, it also contends that cinema’s slippages, opacities, and irrationalities lend itself to unruly counter-colonial possibilities.
Growing from her writing on tropicality and colonialism’s “extractive cinema” in her first monograph, Chan’s second research project focuses on visualizations of the Anthropocene particularly through questions of archive, information, and affect. Set in an era of rapid species loss, resource extraction, and environmental degradation in the rainforests of Southeast Asia, it asks how our experience of seeing and documenting the world through multi-modal visual forms (e.g. scientific taxonomy, cinema, meteorological data visualizations, indigenous social media) produces our sense of planet and planetary time.
Chan has articles published in Cinema Journal, Studies in Documentary Film, Periscope for Social Text, Spectator and has a chapter forthcoming in the anthology Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film. Her dissertation, “A Cinema Under the Palms: The Unruly Lives of Colonial Educational Film in British Malaya” received an Award of Distinction for the 2017 Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) Dissertation Prize and was a final shortlist for the 2017 International Convention for Asian Scholars (ICAS) Dissertation Prize. Her research has been supported by a Social Science Research Council Andrew W. Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship, a Global Asia Postdoctoral Fellowship (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), and other fellowships and grants.