School of Social and Political Science

Lotte Hoek

Job Title

Head of Subject; Senior Lecturer, Social Anthropology

Lotte Hoek's photo

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Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

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I am a media anthropologist whose ethnographic research explores the social, political and technological lives of the moving image in South Asia. I am particular interested in the encounter between empirical audiences and the aesthetic and technological aspects of film as well as the place of the moving image in political mobilisation and contestation. My research asks about the technological contours and political efficacy of transgressive media images in South Asia and I combine ethnographic methods with archival work to explore this question.

See short videos from my research work here and here and here. Want to listen to a podcast about some of my work? My research blog is called 'De Media Automatiek'.

My monograph Cut-Pieces: Celluloid Obscenity and Popular Cinema in Bangladesh (Columbia University Press, 2014)  is an ethnographic exploration of the practice of making and screening illegal sexually explicit celluloid. The book was awarded the 2016 Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize.

In 2013 I received an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant for the project 'The Ends of Modernism: Understanding the Political Uses of Modernist Art among Muslim Intellectuals in Bangladesh since 1952'. Based on this research I edited the volume Forms of the Left in Postcolonial South Asia with Dr. Sanjukta Sunderason (Bloomsbury, 2021). I am currently writing a monograph based on this research material that explores the nature of film appreciation as a social practice and asks how the art film has been a site for political contestation within Bangladesh.

My new research engages the places of the moving image within state practices in eastern Bengal since 1947.

Courtesy of the Bangladesh National Archive

Selected Publications

Hoek, Lotte and Sanjukta Sunderason (eds). 2021. Forms of the Left in Postcolonial South Asia: Aesthetics, Networks and Connected Histories. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Hoek, Lotte. 2021. “This is Not a Film”: Industrial Expectations and Film Criticism as Censorship at the Bangladesh Film Censor Board. In Ramyar D. Rossoukh and Steven C. Caton (eds), Anthropology, Film Industries, Modularity. Durham: Duke University Press. Pp. 109-128.

Hoek, Lotte. 2020. When Celluloid Pornography Went Digital: Class and Race in the Bangladeshi Cut-Piece Online. Porn Studies 7(1): 97-114. https://doi/full/10.1080/23268743.2019.1607539

Hoek, Lotte. 2019. Pictures on paper: Censoring cinematic culture through the Bangladesh Film Club Act. Terrain November. URL: ; DOI : 10.4000/terrain.19361

Hoek, Lotte and Sanjukta Sunderason. 2019. Journeying Through Modernism: Travels and Transits of East Pakistani Artists in Post-Imperial London. British Art Studies. Issue 13,

Hoek, Lotte. 2017. Mirrors of Movement: Aina, Afzal Chowdhury’s cinematography and the interlinked histories of the cinema in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Screen 57(4): 488-495.

Hoek, Lotte. 2017. Film For Good: Can cinema produce social justice? Anthropology News 58(2): 3-4.

Hoek, Lotte. 2016. Urban Wallpaper: Film Posters, City Walls and the Cinematic Public in South Asia. South Asia 39(1): 73-92.

Hoek, Lotte. 2016. Revelations in the Anthropology of Cinema. Anthropology of this Century 15 (May).

Hoek, Lotte. 2015. Cinema and the Melodrama of Nationalism. Himal Southasian 28(3): 66-77.

Hoek, Lotte. 2014. Cross-Wing Filmmaking: East Pakistani Urdu Films and Other Traces from the Bangladesh Film Archive. BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies 5(2): 99-118.

Hoek, Lotte. 2014. Cut-Pieces: Celluloid Obscenity and Popular Cinema in Bangladesh. New York: Columbia University Press.

Hoek, Lotte. 2013. Blood Splattered Bengal: The Spectacular Spurting Blood of the Bangladeshi Action Cinema. Contemporary South Asia 21(3): 214-229.

Hoek, Lotte. 2013. Killer not terrorist: Visual articulations of terror in Bangladeshi action cinema. South Asian Popular Culture 11(2): 121-132.

Hoek, Lotte. 2012. Mofussil Metropolis: Civil sites, uncivil cinema and provinciality in Dhaka City. Ethnography 13(1): 28-42. Special Issue: Crowds and Conviviality: Ethnographies of the South Asian City, edited by Ajay Gandhi & Lotte Hoek

Hoek, Lotte. 2010. Urdu for Image: Understanding Bangladeshi Cinema through its Theatres. In Shakuntala Banaji (ed.). South Asian Media Cultures: Representations, Audiences and Contexts. London & New York: Anthem Press.

Hoek, Lotte. 2010. Cut-Pieces as Stag Film: Bangladeshi Pornography in Action Cinema. Third Text 24(1): 133-146.

Hoek, Lotte. 2010. Unstable Celluloid: Film Projection and the Cinema Audience in Bangladesh. BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies 1:1.

Hoek, Lotte. 2009. More Sexpression Please! Screening the Female Voice and Body in the Bangladesh Film Industry. In Birgit Meyer (ed.). Aesthetic Formations: Media, Religion, and the Senses. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Research interests

Research interests

  • Anthropology of Media
  • Visual Culture and the Cinema
  • History of the Moving Image
  • Visual Arts
  • Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Asia

Topics interested in supervising

I am interested in supervising PhD applicants with research projects relating to any of my research interests.

If you are interested in being supervised by Lotte Hoek , please see the links below for more information:

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