Hongwei Thorn Chen

Scholarly Retreats
Type of work

Hongwei Thorn Chen is a scholar of Chinese and East Asian film and media cultures. Chen’s research is interested in how institutions attempt to govern with technological media, and how media, in turn, trigger crises of governmental reason. During his time in the woods, he worked on a book that examines how “education” and “tutelage” served as organizing rationalities of institutional film use in China during the early twentieth century, a period when elites sought to shape new political subjects within the uneven landscape of global inter-imperial competition. The book unfolds Chen’s broader interests in colonial modernities and their legacies in east Asia, modern China, and transnational histories of film and visual culture.

“I was able to use my time at A Studio in the Woods to focus on writing my book proposal and getting started on revising my first chapter. The semester had just ended, so I was grateful that I was able to physically separate myself from my usual routine and home workspace in order to turn my attention fully to writing. Being out in the woods, I was able to take meditative breaks by cooking, and doing yoga and tai-chi. I also very much enjoyed being able to pick grapefruits from the tree.” – Hongwei Thorn Chen