Past Event

Resisting Visual Biopolitics: Theory and Practice

April 14, 2022
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Schermerhorn Hall, 1198 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10027 Room 612

RSVP Required:

Professor and Chair of Film and Media Studies at the University of California-Irvine, Fatimah Tobing Rony, will read from her new book, How Do We Look?, and screen her multi-award winning short animated film, Annah la Javanaise, about a trafficked 13-year old girl who was found wandering the streets of Paris in 1893 and became the maid and model of painter Paul Gaugin.

Her talk will focus on theories of visual biopolitics to examine those who are allowed to live, and those who are allowed to die, in representations of Indonesian women.

Event attendees must show proof of vaccination to access event venue. Please enter Schermerhorn Hall at Campus Level to be directed to Room 612.

Co-Presented with Columbia School of the Arts, Film & Media Studies and the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department


Speaker Bio

Fatimah Tobing Rony makes films and writes books about people whose stories have not yet been told.

In her first book, The Third Eye, Fatimah Tobing Rony wrote about how colonialism created a divide between the Historical and the Ethnographic, the Civilized and the Savage, and how these divides were inscribed in film, photography, and other visual technologies. These categories served biopolitics by producing a logic whereby the life of one group was nourished at the expense of another. Twenty years on, this divide is just as persistent and pernicious in our era of neoliberalism and globalization. In her new book, How Do We Look?, she traces the legacy of one particular aspect of visual biopolitics - the representation of the Indonesian woman - into the twenty-first century of globalization.

As a filmmaker, Fatimah also co-directed the feature film, Chants of Lotus [PEREMPUAN PUNYA CERITA] (2008), which was distributed and exhibited in major theaters in Indonesia, and in film festivals around the world. Her short animation film, Annah la Javanaise, was an Official Selection of the 2020 Annecy International Festival for Animated Film, in Annecy, France, and in 2021, won Best Short Film at Anifilm, Liberec, Czech Republic, as well as the Chinelo Prize for Best International Short Film at the Pixelatl Festival of Animation in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Best Director and Best Film Music at Devenir Réalisateur Paris Film Festival, Best Animated Short at the LA Femme Film Festival, Best Social Justice Film at the Hollywood Women’s International Film Festival, Best Animated Film at the Rome Independent Cinema Festival, and Best Film at the Edinburgh Short Film Festival.

Contact Information

Columbia U ISSG