Ryan Cook

Assistant Professor

Film & Media Studies

Office: Rich Bldg 107D

Email: ryan.cook@emory.edu


  • PhD, Yale University, 2013
  • MA, Yale University, 2006
  • MA, Georgetown University, 2001
  • BA, Cornell University, 1999


As an Assistant Professor in Film and Media Studies, I teach courses in world film history and on topics related to my own research areas in Japanese film and cultural history—these include postwar film and art movements, genres, and criticism, as well as contemporary narrative film, adaptation and the “media mix.”  Before coming to Emory, I taught film and Japanese culture courses at Yale and Harvard.

I am currently writing a book manuscript tracing the cultural and intellectual contexts of cinema in postwar Japan, examining films in relation to their reception by audience organizations and critics, as well as their material exhibition environments.  I focus on the ways that cinema was newly experienced within the shifting media ecology and amidst the political upheavals of the 1960s.  In particular, I examine the ways that cinema was reimagined alongside the postwar remaking of the capital city of Tokyo, but also as a peripheral or “marginal” phenomenon that resisted the authority of the center, an authority at once symbolized and undermined by the “labyrinthine” urban environment of Tokyo.  I argue that the contraction of the film industry, which took place even as Japan experienced renewed economic and especially urban prosperity, resulted not only in a sense of crisis, but also in a tendency to embrace cinema’s displacement from its erstwhile position at the gravitational center of mass culture.  I ultimately seek to account for the extraordinary investments that people continued to make in film even as it was reconfigured as a comparatively minor mode--investments that included not only political commitments and utopian visions, but also aesthetic feelings and preoccupations that emerged as movies took on new relationships to social movements and to everyday life.

Academic Appointments and Awards

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University, 2013-14.
  • Waseda University Visiting Researcher Fellowship, 2012
  • Japan Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2010-11


  • Japanese Film History
  • Comparative East Asian Cinemas
  • Cinema and the Urban
  • World Cinema as Object and Method
  • Documentary
  • Comparative Historical Film and Media Theories
  • Gender and Sexuality in Film and Media
  • Film and Museum Arts
  • Modern Japanese Literature and Adaptation


  • “Tokyo Notebook: Thresholds” Film Quarterly 64, No. 4, 2011.
  • “Japanese Lessons: André Bazin’s Cinematic Cosmopolitanism” in Opening Bazin: Film Theory in Postwar France. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • “Rules of the Road: The Traveling Films of Hiroshi Shimizu” Film Quarterly 64, No. 3, 2011.
  • “An Impaired Eye: Hasumi Shigehiko on Cinema and Stupidity” Review of Japanese Culture and Society 22, 2010.
  • “A Feeling for Endings: Inagaki Taruho’s Miroku as a Memoir of Cinephilia” in Dall'inizio, alla fine. Theorie del cinema in prospettiva. Udine, Italy: Forum, 2010.
  • “Strange Bedfellows: Hasumi Shigehiko and Ōshima Nagisa on Sex, Censorship and Cinema” Iconics 10, 2010.