A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Virtual Book Launch for Farshid Kazemi
Wednesday September 29, 2021 | 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM (PDT) | Zoom


The event will be chaired by the SCA's Laura U. Marks, and Dr. Kazemi will be joined by Professor Negar Mottahedeh (Duke University) to discuss his new book. There will be a discussion after the presentation and time for a brief Q&A with the audience.

Dr. Farshid Kazemi discusses his new book called, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Liverpool University Press, August 2021), based on the film of the same name by Ana Lily Amirpour. The book is a detailed analysis of the film within three theoretical coordinates: the vampire genre, psychoanalytic (film) theory and German Idealism. The book situates the film in the vampire genre through the spectral vampire in early German expressionist cinema (F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, 1922) and theorizes it as part of a transnational New Iranian Horror Cinema that represents ‘the uncanny’ between the two modes of ‘the weird and the eerie.’ The film’s relation to the history of Iranian horror films are discussed, as well as the female vampire’s evocation of the figure of the Nightmare (bakhtak/kabus) in Iranian myth/folklore. Dr. Kazemi provides a Lacanian psychoanalytic reading of the film that analyzes the chador-clad female vampire as ‘the return of the repressed’ (of feminine sexuality), with several readings that circulate around this motif such as symbolic castration, the death drive etc. The love story at the heart of the film is analyzed through ideas of central figures in German Idealism such as Hegel and Schelling but especially Hegel’s concept of love and the abyssal core of the subject as the ‘Night of the World.’ The book is an enactment of Freudo-Lacanian psychoanalytic theory and Hegelian dialectics that brings out what is hidden on the surface of the film’s textual unconscious.


Farshid Kazemi holds a Ph.D. in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Edinburgh, with a thesis on Iranian cinema and second wave psychoanalytic film theory titled: "The Interpreter of Desires: Iranian Cinema and Psychoanalysis." He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University until 2021. His research interests combine an interdisciplinary and theoretical approach to Film and Media Studies, Iranian Studies, and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. He is a member of the Substantial Motion Research Network, an international network of scholars and artists interested in the intercultural exploration of film, digital media and philosophy. He has published several articles and book chapters on Iranian cinema, psychoanalytic film theory and feminist film theory in various journals such as Camera Obscura and Journal of Iranian Studies. His book on the film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was published by Liverpool University Press in 2021.

Negar Mottahedeh teaches media studies in the Program in Literature at Duke University. Her research on film, social media, and social movements in the Middle East has been published by Stanford University Press, Syracuse University Press, Duke University Press and in WIRED magazine,The Hill, and The Observer. She holds a PhD in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society from the University of Minnesota and a BA in International Relations from Mount Holyoke College.

Laura U. Marks works on media art and philosophy with an intercultural focus. Her most recent books are Hanan al-Cinema: Affections for the Moving Image (MIT, 2015) and Enfoldment and Infinity: An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art (MIT, 2010). Marks programs experimental media art for venues around the world. With Dr. Azadeh Emadi (University of Glasgow) she is a founding member of the Substantial Motion Research Network.

September 29, 2021