Alexander Zahlten’s research interests centre on film and audio-visual culture in East Asia, with a focus on Japan. His work explores fundamental shifts in how we engage with media through the connections between larger economic, social, and institutional structures and media aesthetics. Zahlten is especially interested in the dynamics of contemporary media ecologies, and his recent work touches on topics such as film’s connections to other media, independent productions production, or the changing status of fiction. His dissertation mapped the transformation of systems of production / dissemination and textual meaning for popular film genres such as Pink Film, Kadokawa Film, and V-Cinema in Japan.
Zahlten’s publications have examined the role of postcolonial fantasy in Korean remakes of Japanese films, the metaphors of world in the media mix environment of Japan, the history of German sexploitation cinema, or poststructuralist media theory in 1980s Japan. Recently, Zahlten has co-edited the volume Media Theory in Japan (Duke University Press, 2017), and his monograph The End of Japanese Cinema: Industrial Genres, National Times, and Media Ecologies (Duke University Press) maps developments in film and media culture in Japan from the 1960s – 2000s and is forthcoming in fall 2017. He has curated film programs for the German Film Museum, the Athénée Français Cultural Center, Tokyo, Parasophia Festival of Contemporary Culture (Kyoto), or the AAS in Asia Conference in Kyoto and was Program Director for the Nippon Connection Film Festival, the largest festival for film from Japan, from 2002 to 2010.
Alexander Zahlten received his PhD in Film Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany in 2007. He conducted dissertation research at Nihon University (2003-2005) and postdoctoral research at Meiji Gakuin University (2009-2011). Zahlten was Assistant Professor in the Department of Film & Digital Media of Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea for one and a half years before joining Harvard in 2012.