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Godzilla Stomps onto Campus, Dec. 4

The Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture and Weatherhead East Asian Institute at the School of International and Public Affairs celebrate Godzilla's 50 th birthday with a year-long series of events, including an exhibit, symposium and film festival.

Movies featuring Godzilla and his fellow monsters are the first Japanese cultural product to have won a truly global audience, trailblazing a path that has been followed more recently by such East Asian pop-culture goods as Pokémon, Hong Kong action cinema and Japanese anime. In an indication of how beloved Godzilla has become, the character was honored earlier this week with a star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame, commemorating his contribution to the film industry since the release of the first Godzilla movie, Gojira, in 1954.

The highlight of the celebration at Columbia is a day-long symposium titled "Global Fantasies: Godzilla in World Culture," which will be held Dec. 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. , in Altschul Auditorium (room 417) of the International Affairs Building . A wide range of speakers representing diverse academic disciplines and institutions will discuss the larger cultural and historical significance of the Godzilla phenomenon from the 1950s through the present day.

All events are free and open to the public.

Symposium Agenda

9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Opening remarks, Gregory Pflugfelder, associate professor, East Asian languages and cultures, Columbia University



9:50 a.m. - 10:35 a.m.

"Wrestling with Godzilla: Manga Monsters, Puroresu and the National Body," Aaron Gerow, assistant professor, film studies and East Asian languages and literatures, Yale University



10:40 a.m. - 11:25 a.m.

"Godzilla vs. the (Colonial) Thing," Yoshikuni Igarashi, associate professor, history, Vanderbilt University



11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

"The Heirs of King Kong: The Godzilla Cycle and Transnational Image Flows," Gregory Pflugfelder, associate professor, East Asian languages and cultures, Columbia University



12:15 p.m.- 1:30 p.m.

Lunch break and walking tour of the "Godzilla Conquers the Globe" exhibit



1:30 p.m.- 2:15 p.m.

"The Slimy Sublime: H-Man and the Anxiety of Prosperity," Alan Tansman, professor, East Asian languages and cultures, University of California-Berkeley



2:20 p.m.- 3: 05 p.m.

"Godzilla Mon Amour: Understanding Why and How We Love the King of the Monsters" William Tsutsui, associate professor, history, University of Kansas



3:10 p.m.- 3:55 p.m.

"Post-Godzilla Monsterology in an Age of Information, Virtuality and Techno Intimacy," Anne Allison, associate professor, cultural anthropology, Duke University



4:00 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.

"The Specter of Anticommunism: Yongary, Monster from the Deep," Theodore Hughes, assistant professor, East Asian languages and cultures, Columbia University

An exhibit titled "Godzilla Conquers the Globe: Japanese Movie Monsters in International Film Art" is on display in the main reading room of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library (300 Kent Hall, near the corner of Amsterdam Ave. and 116 St.) This first-of-its-kind exhibit traces the origins of the kaiju eiga genre in earlier forms of popular representation and commercial culture in Japan . The installation also explores the transformation of Godzilla imagery as it traveled across the globe during the latter part of the 20th century. The exhibit can be viewed online at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ealac/dkc/calendar/godzilla.

In spring 2005, a film series titled "Godzilla for Thinking People" will be held in the Roone Arledge Auditorium of Alfred Lerner Hall at Broadway and 115 St. Dates and times will be announced early next year.

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Published: Dec 2, 2004
Last modified: Jan 10, 2005

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