Eric Cazdyn

Professor, Department of East Asian Studies
Collaborative Master's Specialization in Contemporary East and Southeast Asian Studies, Asian Institute


(416) 584-4443


Northrop Frye Hall 324


Eric Cazdyn is Distinguished Professor of Aesthetics and Politics at the University of Toronto. Cazdyn’s work focuses on critical and cultural theory, especially on questions of how art and politics relate to questions of time, subjectivity, and change. When he teaches, Cazdyn usually begins with a central problematic (such as “the Body” or “Japan” or “Architecture”) and then tracks the problematic historically, with special attention given to how the problematic came-into-being and how it functions in different disciplines (humanities, social sciences, hard sciences). This approach inspires students to theorize the problematic for themselves, rather than merely apply criticism or theory—that is, it inspires students to creatively generate new thinking, rather than slavishly reproduce the norms of professionalized academic work. Together with teaching and writing (four authored books and two edited ones), Eric Cazdyn is also a filmmaker and artist. Since 2012, he has been engaged in a multi-faceted project called “The Blindspot Variations” for which he conceptualized and built a multi-camera system (a “blindspot machine”) that, instead of exposing blindspots (the desire of state surveillance), produces a new praxis of the blindspot itself. The central question of this work is: What might the reconceptualization of the blindspot teach us about how we look, how we think, how we desire, and how change occurs in the world? Cazdyn’s film work has been screened and performed in Japan, Canada, the US, Mexico, and throughout Europe. He has been Artist-in-Residence at the Cube Microcinema (Bristol), Gallery TPW (Toronto), and a Fellow at the American Academy of Rome.

research interests

Critical and cultural theory
Aesthetics and politics
Japanese film and modern Japanese literature
Psychoanalysis, and medical culture


Ph D University of California, San Diego
M.A University of California, San Diego



Globalization and Culture
The Japanese Cinemas: Film Form and the Problems of Modernity
Japanese Literature and the Nation
On Comparativity and Crisis

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