Erin Y. Huang

Erin Y. Huang

Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature
Julis Foundation University Preceptor
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Office Location: 
Frist Campus Center, Room 236
  • Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
  • M. Phil., University of California, Irvine
  • B.A., University of California, Davis

Erin Yu-Tien Huang is assistant professor of East Asian studies and comparative literature, and an executive member of Princeton’s Committee for Film Studies. She is the co-founder of Asia Theory Visuality — an intellectual platform that harbors collaborative thinking on experimental and theoretical approaches to Asian studies. She received her Ph.D. in comparative literature with a Graduate Feminist Emphasis in gender and sexuality studies from the University of California, Irvine. She is an interdisciplinary scholar and comparatist specializing in Marxist geographies, postcolonial studies, feminist theory, cinema and media studies, and Sinophone Asia.

Her first book, Urban Horror: Neoliberal Post-Socialism and the Limits of Visibility (Duke University Press, 2020), theorizes the expansion of Sinocentric neoliberal post-socialism, a deterritorialized form of market post-socialism taking place in and outside the People’s Republic of China that is actively shaping the lived conditions of the present. Asking what the post- in post-socialism means as a temporal and spatial imaginary that is fueling transterritorial infrastructural projects and financial speculations in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan from the 1990s to the present, the book examines the parallel emergence of the cinematic aesthetics of urban horror and the technologies of space that produced a new species of spaces, ranging from sprawling factory cities and science and industrial parks to zones of economic and political exception. These urban forms occupy the paradoxical role of being both the primary locations sustaining the transnational post-socialist economy and the visual basis for cultural critiques of economic, gender, and ethnic violence embedded in the social unconscious of post-socialist China and its economic partners. This study of contemporary Chinese cinemas argues that the meaning of the image itself has changed in the era of hypermediality: it has become the condition of reality, before reality can be real. The book explores the speculative forces of cinema as a phenomenological network of communication and the emergence of urban horror as a horizon of public sentiments that can shape future urban revolutions and rehearse the forces of resistance after the presumed end of revolutionary times.

Her second project, tentatively titled “Ocean Media: Islanding and Spatial Modernity,” considers the relationship between geospatial technologies of visual mapping and the infrastructural development of oceanic urbanization — e.g. mega-port, artificial island, container ship, and more in East and Southeast Asia. It is a project that theorizes new forms of worlding, through the deployment of ocean media.  

Huang has taught across multiple disciplines, including East Asian studies, comparative literature, gender and sexuality studies, film and media studies, and Asian American studies. Before joining the faculty at Princeton University, she was visiting assistant professor of East Asian studies at New York University.