Phantasmagoria of Urban Spectacle: Walter Benjamin and Media Theory Today

  • Jaeho Kang SOAS
Keywords: critical theory, Walter Benjamin


This contribution is the audio recording of a talk that Jaeho Kang gave at the University of Westminster in the Communication and Media Research Institute's (CAMRI) Research Seminar Series on October 29, 2014.

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) is one of the most original and perceptive German literary and cultural critics, but his unique insight into the profound impact of the media on modernity has received a good deal less attention.

Based on my book, 'Walter Benjamin and the Media: The Spectacle of Modernity' (2014, see, I will talk about Benjamin’s critical and provocative writings on the intersection between media and modern experience with particular reference to phantasmagoria, aesthetic public space, and urban spectacle. In so doing, I will clarify Benjamin’s distinctive and enduring contribution to contemporary media studies.

Author Biography

Jaeho Kang, SOAS
Before joining SOAS in 2012 as Lecturer in Critical Media and Cultural Studies, Jae taught as an assistant professor in the Department of Media and Film Studies at the New School in New York (2005-2012) and was the Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow in the Institut für Sozialforschung at the University of Frankfurt (2004-2005). He received his PhD in sociology of media from the University of Cambridge (2003).  Jae has tried to bring theoretical contributions of critical theory to the development of East Asian media and cultural studies and published a number of articles on critical theory of media and political communication in English, Korean, German, and Portuguese. His research has recently focused more attention on the East Asian context of media culture with particular reference to media spectacle, urban space and screen culture.
Reflections (Non Peer-Reviewed)