Film studies professor has busy day

By Amber Kazmierski

Feb. 10, 2011

Kenneth Chan, an assistant professor at the University of Northern Colorado, fills his Tuesdays and Thursdays with film.
Chan is a professor of film studies. He starts his day off with a brunch at 10:30 a.m. and heads off to his 11 a.m. class.
The room slowly fills as he enters to teach his Intro to Film class. He pulls out his things to start the day: a notebook, a DVD and some pens. Then he takes off his jacket and scarf, rolls up his sleeves, pulls up a PowerPoint and slips in a film. The PowerPoint reads “Dr. Caligari”; that’s the film of discussion for the day.

Chan greets the class and begins his day of teaching film, attending meetings, holding office hours and attending the International Film Series.
Chan paces the classroom asking questions to entice discussions. The class is silent.
As a group of students presents its views on “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” Chan sits in the back by the door making hmmm noises every few seconds.
The group is to lead the discussion for the day, but Chan helps make it lively. “Have you seen this before?” Chan asks the class when comparing the film to those of Tim Burton’s. A student then recalls Burton’s film “Coraline,” stating that the two movies have the same feel. “It’s something he started out doing.”
Backpacks start to zipper shut, and coats rustle on. The class is over, and the next is to begin shortly.
“I’m going to go to the library to grab myself a cup of coffee so that I can be alive and awake for the next class,” Chan says.
Some courses he has taught while at UNC are Intro to Film, Film History II: 1945-present, Asians in Hollywood and Advanced Cultural Studies: Theorizing Gender and Sexuality.
Chan’s second Intro to Film class is set to begin at 12:30 p.m.; he arrives at 12:19 His ritual begins again. His takes out his things, takes off his jacket and scarf, followed by the rolling up of his sleeves. He puts down the slide, pulls up a PowerPoint and slips in a film.
As Chan talks to the class, he paces in the middle of the room and sits on the desk in the front of the classroom.
Just like in the previous class, a group of students is to lead the discussion. But this time it is poorly done, and Chan intervenes so as to get a discussion out of the group.
After two classes back-to-back, going over the same subject, Chan attends a half-hour meeting about the International Film Series, of which he is the lead faculty member. He discusses the visit of a Hong Kong director to the UNC campus.
After the meeting, he holds his office hours from 3-3:30 p.m. in Ross Hall. His usual office hours are 2:30-3:30, but because of the meeting they were shortened. While sitting in his office, Chan enjoys a snack of several clementines and works on his PC.
At 3:30 p.m. he goes down the hall from his office to teach his Film Theory and Analysis of Gender and Sexuality grad class of 13 students. He begins the class with some humor and then delves into the topic of the day, and at 3:37 he leaves the discussion to the students. They open their books, read a passage, and debate.
The class gets out at 4:36 p.m., 10 minutes earlier than usual. Chan speaks of having a tiresome day.
He then goes to dinner at LC Oriental and returns at 7 p.m. to attend the International Film Series screening in the Lindou Auditorium at Michener Library. The film being screened is “Uncle Boonmee Recalls His Past Lives,” a film about a man recalls his past lives as he dies.  
Chan sits alone. “The film was very experimental—I want to not like the film but am unable to; it is a unique and unusual film,” he says after the movie.
He leaves campus at 9:15 p.m.


 Kenneth Chan

Kenneth Chan got his doctorate from the department of English at the University of Florida in 1999 and was a graduate assistant at Clemson University and the University of Florida. Later he was an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.

Chan joined UNC as an assistant film studies professor in the fall of 2008.

Chan’s book, “Remade in Hollywood: The Global Chinese Presence in Post-1997 American and Transnational Chinese Cinemas” was published in 2009.

Chan’s research extends to transnational Chinese cinemas, Asian American film and literature, British-Asian literature, Singapore studies, gender and sexuality studies, queer theory, and contemporary American film. He’s researching the emerging political aesthetic of global screen violence and its ethical and cultural implications in a post-9/11 world order.

Chan sits on the board of directors and is the chair of the International Advisory Board of the Asian Film Archive (Singapore)

Source: UNC website