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Steven T. Brown received his Ph.D. from the Department of Comparative Literature at Stanford University. He is the author of Japanese Horror and the Transnational Cinema of Sensations (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), Tokyo Cyberpunk: Posthumanism in Japanese Visual Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) and Theatricalities of Power: The Cultural Politics of Noh (Stanford University Press, 2001). In addition, Prof. Brown is the editor of Cinema Anime (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and co-editor of Performing Japanese Women (2002), a special issue of the feminist journal Women & Performance. He has published articles in journals ranging from the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Mechademia, Horror Studies, Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, and New Nietzsche Studies. 

In his most recent book, Japanese Horror and the Transnational Cinema of Sensations, Prof. Brown undertakes a critical reassessment of Japanese horror cinema by resituating J-horror’s transnational hybridity in relation to the larger networks of global cultural flows, including major and minor areas of influence, intermedial intersections, and cross-fertilizations. In so doing, Prof. Brown places Japanese horror in dialogue not only with notable exemplars from world horror cinema, but also in relation to the transnational intermedial flows that connect Japanese horror to non-Japanese works of art, literature, folklore, and music. Neither a conventional film history nor simply a thematic survey of Japanese horror cinema, what this study offers instead is transnational analysis of selected films from new angles that shed light on previously ignored aspects of the genre, including sound design, framing techniques, and lighting, as well as the slow attack and long release times of J-horror’s slow-burn style, which have contributed significantly to the development of its dread-filled cinema of sensations.

In Tokyo Cyberpunk: Posthumanism in Japanese Visual Culture, Prof. Brown engages some of the most thought-provoking anime, manga, and films in the history of Japanese science fiction as transnational sites of contestation for competing discourses, philosophical crises, and socioeconomic fault lines.  More specifically, he situates Japanese popular culture in terms of the issues raised by posthumanism (from the absent presence of cell phone usage to the status of virtual online identities to video game addiction), Japanese socioeconomic problems (from the breakdown of the family to youth violence to the social withdrawal known as “hikikomori”), as well as globalization and advanced capitalism. Through an investigation into how the questions and issues of posthumanism are frequently broached in works of Japanese popular culture to explore new possibilities of existence at the intersection of different forms of intelligence, corporeality, and data-processing, Tokyo Cyberpunk attempts to destabilize our assumptions about what it means to be human in a posthuman world and how we might relate to all the intelligent machines with which we increasingly share the world. 

Prof. Brown's edited collection, Cinema Anime: Critical Engagements with Japanese Animation, charts the terrain of contemporary Japanese animated film, one of the most explosive forms of visual culture to emerge at the crossroads of transnational cultural production in the last twenty-five years. Cinema Anime offers bold and insightful engagements with anime’s shifting negotiations with gender identity, anxieties about body mutation and posthumanity, and the asymmetry between two-dimensional cel animation and three-dimensional digital cinema.  The contributors to Cinema Anime dismantle the distinction between “high” and “low” culture and offer compelling arguments for the value and importance of critical scholarship on popular cultural flows in the transnational spaces of translation from the local to the global.