Philip Kaffen

Assistant Professor of Japanese
COED 455







Phil Kaffen is an assistant professor of Japanese and cinema. His research and teaching focuses on visual images, including cinema, animation, photography, and installation. In particular, the role of images in broader social and cultural issues from militarism and war to sovereignty and ecology form the core concerns of his research. He teaches courses on film and animation history; and thematic courses on the above themes and topics. He has published on documentary cinema, film and urban space, film philosophy in wartime, and artistic responses to catastrophe. He has also done several translations, including of Japanese philosopher Ukai Satoshi on the idea of the planetary; interviews with the political revolutionary Adachi Masao; and most recently, a book on the history of Japanese film called What is Japanese Cinema? by noted scholar Yomota Inuhiko. He is currently working on writings on grace and cinema in the 21st century, as well as image romanticism in 1960s film culture; revising the updated Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema; a translation of a book on turn-of-the-century Hollywood cinema—Yoshimoto Mitushiro’s The End of Cinema and the Empire of Images. 


September 2011 Ph.D. East Asian Studies, New York University
May 2004 M.A. Japanese Literature, University of Washington
May 1994 B.A. English Literature, Magna Cum Laude, San Jose State University


UNC Charlotte Assistant Professor Since fall 2017
Brooklyn College, Instructor, Spring 2017
New York University (Visiting Assistant Professor, Comparative Lit./East Asian Studies) Fall 2013-Spring 2017
University of Chicago  (Lecturer, Cinema and Media Studies Department) Fall 2012-Spring 2013
New York University, Teaching Assistant Fall 2006-Spring 2012
University of Washington, Teaching Assistant, 2000-2004

Specific Research Interests


Art and Technology in Optical Media

Theoretical Reflections on Imagination Representation

Politics of Surveillance and Security

Bodies and Urban Space in Film

Violence in Cinema during the 1970s