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Animation and Animism

Thomas Lamarre, McGill University

March 7, 2018 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 010 East Pyne

Committee for Film Studies and the Humanities Council's David A. Gardner '69 Magic Project

On Wednesday, March 7, the Committee for Film Studies will host the fifth lecture in its seven-part, year-long Thinking Cinema series, which structures vibrant encounters between leading film scholars and the Princeton community. Thomas Lamarre, McGill University, will discuss Animation and Animism.

Many early discussions of animation in the 1930s tended to characterize it in terms of animism, stressing how animation made for an experience of multiple kinds of beings endowed with an animating agency or soul, and for a worldview without dualist oppositions between the animate and inanimate. Due to the subsequent decline of interest in animation studies as well as the desire of anthropology to distance itself from the imperialist primitivism associated with animism, that tentative dialogue soon ended. The resurgence of animism studies and animation studies in the 1990s, however, paves the way for another kind of dialogue, one attentive both to the colonial legacy of animism and to the potential of animism and animation to offer other forms of knowledge and ways of being in the world.

Thomas Lamarre teaches in East Asian Studies and Communications Studies at McGill University. He is author of numerous publications on the history of media, thought, and material culture, with projects ranging from the communication networks of 9th-century Japan (Uncovering Heian Japan: An Archaeology of Sensation and Inscription, 2000), to silent cinema and the global imaginary (Shadows on the Screen: Tanizaki Jun’ichirô on Cinema and Oriental Aesthetics, 2005), animation technologies (The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation, 2009) and on television and new media (The Anime Ecology: A Genealogy of Television, Animation, and Game Media, 2018).

Sponsored by the Committee for Film Studies and the Humanities Council’s David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project

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