Elmo Gonzaga obtained his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley specializing in the Visual and Spatial Cultures of Southeast Asia and the Global South. Born, raised, educated in Manila, he lived for seven years in Singapore, teaching at the National University of Singapore, before moving to Hong Kong. His research and teaching interests encompass Transnational Film and Screen Studies, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Global Critical Theory, Media Urbanism, the History and Aesthetics of Capitalism and Revolution, and the Politics of Historical and Cultural Representation.
His interdisciplinary work is both diachronic and synchronic, historical and intermedial.
Monsoon Marketplace, his second monograph (under contract with Fordham University Press), traces the entangled genealogies of capitalism, modernity, consumption, and spectatorship in Manila and Singapore through representations of popular commercial and leisure spaces such as amusement parks, night markets, movie theaters, and shopping malls during colonial occupation in the 1930s, national development in the 1960s, and neoliberal globalization in the 2000s. An extract has been published in the Journal of Asian Studies.
His first monograph, Globalization and Becoming-nation, analyzes the political economy of contemporary Filipino novels in the passage from official nationalism during the 1970s Marcos Martial Law dictatorship to market capitalism after the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.
More recent publications look at the global production, circulation, exhibition, and consumption of genres and iconographies across transmedia platforms including films, blogs, apps, museums, video games, and art installations. One article in Cinema Journal, “The Cinematographic Unconscious of Slum Voyeurism”, examines the construction, misrecognition, and refusal of urban realism in poverty porn made for international film funds and festivals. Another article in Cultural Studies, “Precarious Nostalgia”, uncovers how algorithmic protocols of memory and agency in the smart city modify the longing for the congenial past into an openness to future risk.
His current research project on ‘Decolonizing and Doing Theory in Southeast Asia’ is funded by two grants, notably the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC)’s General Research Fund (GRF). It aims to explore how teachers, critics, scholars, curators, filmmakers, and artists based in Southeast Asia use critical theories and vernacular concepts in their intellectual, creative, and pedagogical work. These ideas are anticipated in “Archipelagic Intermediality” an essay that revisits Southeast Asian intellectual culture to theorize the interchange between different media modalities within diverse intraregional communities.