Academic Profile : No longer with NTU

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Dr Stephen Teo Kian Teck
Senior Research Fellow, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Associate Professor Stephen Teo joined the Wee Kim Wee School of Communciation and Information in August 2008. Before joining NTU, he was a research fellow of the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore from 2005-2008. He received his Ph.D. degree from RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. He taught in RMIT, and today, remains a senior research associate of the university. He has extensive work experience as editor and film programmer in international film festivals in Hong Kong and Japan (the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival), and also engaged in a brief period of filmmaking, producing several short-subject films in the mid-80s, and one documentary-drama feature film, shot in 16mm, in Malaysia. He has done significant research work in the field of the Hong Kong cinema, and his research areas include other Asian cinemas, revolving around subjects of genre theory, film history, auteur studies, cultural studies, national cinema, and investigations into the literary and visual aspects of film theory. He is the author of Hong Kong Cinema: The Extra Dimensions (London: British Film Institute, 1997), Wong Kar-wai (London: BFI, 2005), King Hu's A Touch of Zen (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2007), Director in Action: Johnnie To and the Hong Kong Action Film (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2007). He has published numerous articles in reputed film journals, and contributed many book chapters. His forthcoming book is The Chinese Martial Arts Cinema: The Wuxia Tradition, to be published by Edinburgh University Press in 2009.
Associate Professor Stephen Teo's current research work focuses on several aspects of theoretical interest in film. Firstly, contributing to the discourse on Asian Cinema as an alternative paradigm to Hollywood as the global form, and thus to evolve a concept of Asian Cinema as a viable cinematic and media theory supporting pedagogical and creative modules. Asian cinema and the concept of national cinema are inter-related forces but it is the latter that tends to subsume the former in theoretical discourse. Teo's research work seeks a concentrated, rigorous approach to defining Asian cinema as a specialized norm of aesthetics and thematic field that can be broadly applied to Asian films produced by diverse national film industries in Asia. How do Asian cinemas transcend national interests and become an Asian Cinema as a unitary and unifying element? With Asian film industries modelling themselves on Hollywood,how can an Asian cinema stand up as an alternative model to Hollywood? A second area of Teo's reasearch interest revolves around the nature of film in relation to cultural theory and other fields of cultural interest, including literature, history and popular arts. The literary and visual contrast inherent in cinema is a striking anomaly that calls for more theoretical investigation. Teo's work has concerned itself with how historical literary works are transposed into the cinema and how historical prototypes are transfigured as cinematic personalities but retaining essential qualities. A third area of Teo's work lies in genre and auteur studies. Teo is interested in standard Hollywood genres such as the Western, the action-adventure film, the thriller, the epic, the musical, and he seeks to explore their inter-textual connections with Asian genres such as the martial arts film, the gangster action film, the melodrama, horror, and historical epic. How do auteurs transform genre? A fourth area of research interest lies in the study of emerging Asian "New Waves" in traditionally ignored film industries such as those in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. Can these Southeast Asian cinemas make a lasting impact on the discourse of Asian cinema?
  • Transnational Networks of Singapore Cinema and Digital Media: Shifting Geographies, Multiplying Media, and Industry Transformations