Film as Site

A talk by Professor Helen F. Siu, Professor of Anthropology at Yale University

Talk Abstract:

Why did Professor Siu spend three years to make a film for a multi-cultural public?  What does a film do and how can we think about it ethnographically? This builds on the brilliant documentary Denise Ho – Becoming the Song.  Produced by a transnational team and distributed by Kino Lorber in July 2020, the 83 min documentary follows the life of the charismatic Cantopop singer from her journey in becoming a superstar to that of a political activist. Denise has put her life and livelihood on the line to support social movements in Hong Kong, and created new spaces through her music for encompassing, humanistic values. While the film and filming have ended, its spirit and call for hope continue to live.

Professor Helen F. Siu will be discussing the film as a process and moving site. This raises important questions about how we can rethink methodology, voice, agency and empathy to explore the interconnected and fast-changing “-scapes” that anthropologists continue to grapple with.

More about Prof Siu:
Helen F. Siu is a Professor of Anthropology and former chair of the Council on East Asian Studies at Yale University. She has conducted decades of fieldwork in Southern China, exploring agrarian change and commerce, the nature of the socialist state, and the refashioning of identities. Lately, she explores rural-urban interface in China, inter-Asian connections, China-Africa encounters, popular music and new political space in Hong Kong. She has served funding and research assessment committees in the United States, Europe, and Asia. She is the founding director of the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. It highlights cross-disciplinary research and global collaborations (

October 4, 2021
2 – 3:15 pm EST, in person
10 Sachem St, Room 105
Admission: Free, with registration
Registration: Register here

View the full fall schedule here.

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