March 5, 2024 - 4:00 pm
March 5, 2024 - 5:30 pm
Address314 Royce Hall View map
This talk presents an analysis of experimental documentary in the 1960s, especially from France and Japan, through the overarching lens of antifascism. Central to the theoretical grounding of antifascism are two Marxist theoreticians who likely never met, but whose work and analysis of antifascist discourses are profoundly aligned: filmmaker Matsumoto Toshio, and philosopher Gilles Deleuze and psychoanalyst Félix Guattari. Matsumoto was the first theorist to explicitly describe avant-garde documentary as an antifascist form, and his writings elaborate most clearly on the necessity of this genre in the postwar moment, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, imperialist terror, and nuclear annihilation. I compare Matsumoto’s concept of aesthetic antifascism—what he terms “aesthetic sado-masochism”—to Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of “microfascism” in the two-volume Capitalism and Schizophrenia, recently analyzed by Jack Z. Bratich (On Microfascism, 2022). As this talk argues, both Matsumoto and Deleuze/Guattari view antifascism as integrally connected to the personal and psychological. This talk will demonstrate how experimental documentary, stretching from the Soviet experiments of Dziga Vertov to the present moment, becomes a privileged art form that is uniquely capable of battling against a non-state and everyday fascist ideology—the “cops in our heads,” in the parlance of May 1968—and against forces of conservativism and complacency.
Dr. Julia Alekseyeva is a multi-modal scholar of media, film, and culture, specializing in the interactions between global media and radical leftist politics. She is an assistant professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and a core faculty member of the Cinema and Media Studies Program (CIMS). She recently completed her first academic monograph, tentatively entitled Antifascism and the Avant-Garde: Radical Documentary in the 1960s.
Dr. Alekseyeva is also a graphic artist specializing in non-fiction graphic narratives, comics journalism, and memoir. Her first full-length graphic novel Soviet Daughter was published by Microcosm in January 2017, and won the VLA Diversity Award. Since then she has published shorter non-fiction graphic essays in both peer-reviewed journals/book anthologies and in popular outlets such as The Nib and Jewish Currents, where she also guest-edited the Soviet Issue in Winter/Spring 2022.
Tuesday, March 5, 2024 • 314 Royce Hall • 4 PM
Everyday Antifascism: Radical Media in the 1960s
Natalie Limonick Program on Jewish Civilization in memory of Miriam Nissell Rose
Julia Alekseyeva (University of Pennsylvania)
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