SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Dr Jaeho Kang

PhD (Cambridge)
  • Overview
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Jaeho Kang
Centre of Korean Studies

Academic Staff, Centre of Korean Studies

Centre for Creative Industries, Media and Screen Studies


Dr Jaeho Kang
Email address:
+44 (0)20 7898 4585
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Tuesdays 5-6 pm & Thursdays 5-6 pm


Before joining SOAS in 2012, 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.



I have been working to develop a perspective drawn from European Critical Theory and applying this to the East Asian context today.

My previous research was mainly concerned with developing a critical theory of media in the tradition of the Frankfurt School. I have published extensively on Walter Benjamin.  My forthcoming book, Walter Benjamin and the Media (Cambridge: Polity Press), analyses Benjamin’s writings on media with particular reference to phantasmagoria, media spectacle and aesthetic politics, and reassesses the value of his work for our understanding of contemporary media culture in the digital age.

My research on a critical theory of media has recently focused more attention on political communication. I have come to develop the issue of media and politics while examining the German-American cultural and film critic, Siegfried Kracauer. This research has unpacked Kracauer’s theoretical contribution for a systematic approach to the current political communication. I have been co-editing an anthology, consisting of unpublished manuscripts and the hitherto overlooked essays. This collection, Siegfried Kracauer: Selected Writings on Media, Propaganda and Political Communication (New York: Columbia University Press), will bring Kracauer’s work to the attention of a much wider scholarly and critical readership.

The second pillar of my research is East Asian media and cultural studies. I aim to undertake more empirical and historical research on media culture in non-Western areas with particular reference to media spectacle, urban space, and trans-national screen culture.

First, I have tried to bring theoretical contributions of European critical theory to the development of East Asian studies. I am tackling key issues of cultural studies debated in the field of subaltern and post-colonial studies and recent East Asian cultural studies. My recent work on early department stores in East Asian Cities (Tokyo, Shanghai, and Seoul) analyses the intesection of global capitalism and colonialism, while seeking to develop a critical methodology of transcultural studies.

Second, I have applied the topic of the intersection of media spectacle and urban space within the East Asian context. My recent article, “The Beijing National Stadium as Media Space” (co-authored, Design and Culture, 2011) offers a detailed analysis of media space from the interdisciplinary perspective of media and design studies. The study on media spectacle and global sports event is now being expanded into a wider analysis of the Olympic Games in East Asian cities from Tokyo 1964 via Seoul 1988 to Beijing 2008. My ongoing project, “Mega Sports Events as Media Spectacles: Trans-National Identity from the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games to the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea-Japan,” provides a historical and cultural analysis of the intersection of popular culture, sports nationalism and collective identity in Korea.

Third, I am examining the relationship between media and democracy with particular referene to aesthetic public space, visibility, and political spectacle. My forthcoming article, “Digital Constellations: Social Media and the Crisis of (old) Democracy in South Korea,” analyses the impact of new media on democracy as the crisis of deliberative and represenative politicsl system, while looking into the politics of social media in South Korea.

I welcome potential doctoral proposals in the areas of research: critical theory, contemporary media and cultural theory, media spectacle and urban culture, screen and visual culture, new media, political communicaiton and social movements.


Authored Books

Kang, Jaeho (2014) Walter Benjamin and the Media: The Spectacle of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.


Kang, Jaeho (2016) '“Ink-play”: Walter Benjamin’s Chinese Curios.'. Sociétés, (131) 1, pp 119-130.

Kang, Jaeho (2016) 'Urban Spectacle and Utopian Space: a Reflection on the Rio Olympics [in Korean]'. F: Journal of Arts and Humanities, (22), pp 20-32.

Kang, Jaeho (2013) 'From Cine-Eye to Cine-Fist: Technological Innvervation in Media Space'. Episteme, (9), pp 301-339.

Kang, Jaeho (2012) 'Digital Constellations: Social Media and the Crisis of (old) Democracy in South Korea'. Devinatio, (35), pp 139-149.

Kang, Jaeho (2012) 'A mídia e a crise da democracia: repensando a política estética'. Novos Estudos 93, pp 61-79.

Kang, Jaeho (2011) 'The Spectacle of Modernity: Walter Benjamin and Cultural Criticism (Kulturkritik)'. Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory, (18) 1, pp 74-90.

Kang, Jaeho and Traganou, Jilly (2011) 'The Beijing National Stadium as Media Space'. Design and Culture, (3) 2, pp 145-164.

Kang, Jaeho (2010) 'New Media and the Crisis of Democracy: Rethinking Aesthetic Politics'. Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, (57) 124, pp 1-22.

Kang, Jaeho (2010) 'A Dialectical Féerie: Walter Benjamin’s Critique of the Surrealist Experience (in Korean)'. Epoch and Philosophy, (21) 3, pp 119-147.

Kang, Jaeho (2009) 'Ur-History of Media Space: Walter Benjamin and the Information Industry in Nineteenth-Century Paris'. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, (22) 2, pp 231-248.

Kang, Jaeho (2009) 'O espetáculo da modernidade: A critica da cultura de Watler Benjamin'. Novos estudos 84, pp 215-233.

Kang, Jaeho and Gilloch, Graeme (2007) 'Below the Surface: Antisemitism, Prejudice and Siegfried Kracauer's 'Test Film' Project'. New Formations: A Journal of Culture/Theory/Politics, (61) 2, pp 149-160.

Kang, Jaeho (2001) 'Foucault in Frankfurt: Towards a Critical Genealogy (in Korean)'. Literature and Society, (14) 4, pp 124-140.

Edited Books or Journals

Kang, Jaeho and Graeme, Gilloch, (eds.), (2018) Siegfried Kracauer: Selected Writings on Media, Propaganda and Political Communication. Columbia University Press. [Forthcoming]

Book Chapters

Kang, Jaeho (2005) 'The Phantasmagoria of the Spectacle—Walter Benjamin and a Critique of Media Culture'. In: Steinskog, Erik and Peterson, Dag, (eds.), Actualities of Aura: Twelve Studies of Walter Benjamin. Aarhus: Nordic Summer University Press.

Kang, Jaeho (2002) 'Body, the Media and Society (interview with Brian Turner) (in Korean)'. In: Turner, Bryan S., (ed.), The Body and Society (Korean Edition). Seoul: Body and Mind Books, pp 463-478.


Kang, Jaeho and Lee, Wontae and Lee, Jungkyu (2010) 'The Media and Modernity: A Social Theory of the Media. By John B. Thompson' .

Conference Items

Kang, Jaeho (2017) 'Transnationality or Globality? The Korean Wave and Methodological Challenges in Media and Cultural studies' In: Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, 12 (1). pp. 26-27.

Kang, Jaeho (2008) 'The Origin of Techno-City: The Phalanstery and Utopia' In: Post Globalization and East Asia, The 5th EACAG (East Asian Conferences in Alternative Geographies), Seoul.

Kang, Jaeho (2008) 'Wandering Along Urban Phantasmagoria: Lindenpassage in Berlin and Najing Lu in Shanghai' In: Seoul Metropolitan Fora 2008: Transformation of Culture and Spatial Economy of Asian City-Regions.

Kang, Jaeho (2008) 'Recollecting the Future: Tactility of Urban Spectacle in East Asia' In: International Urban Humanities Conference: Culture and Memory of Asian Cities.

Book Reviews

Kang, Jaeho (2006) 'Review of "Konterrevolution und Revolte" by Herbert Marcuse'. Schlüsselwerke der Kritischen Theorie, pp 364-367.

Kang, Jaeho (2006) 'Review of Herbert Marcuse, 'Die Permanenz der Kunst. Wider eine bestimmte marxistische Ästhetik''. Schlüsselwerke der Kritischen Theorie, pp 368-370.


Kang, Jaeho (2008) 'The Frankfurt School'.

Kang, Jaeho (2008) 'Medium is the Message'.

Kang, Jaeho and Mattern, Shannon (2008) 'Media'.


This list was last generated on Thursday, 19th September 2019, 05:20 Europe/London.