Luke White has been working at Middlesex University since 1999, teaching critical, contextual, historical and theoretical studies across the undergraduate art and design programmes. Initially working as an hourly paid lecturer, Luke took up a formal position as Lecturer in Visual Culture and Histories of Art and Design in 2006, and became Senior Lecturer in Visual Culture – Fine Art in 2013.
* BA (Hons) Fine Art, Kent Institute of Art and Design, 1994
* MA Printmaking, Camberwell College of Arts, 1996
* PhD, Middlesex University, 2009
* PGCertHE, Middlesex University, 2015.
Key Areas of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Interest include:
Histories, theories and contexts of contemporary and modern art and design, especially contemporary Fine Art; radical and activist art and design; art, design and capitalism; globalisation; histories of aesthetics; popular culture; cultural studies; consumption; theories of identity – class, gender, race, sexuality; the postcolonial; theories of modernity.
Luke's research centres on the intersections of contemporary art and the broader cultural industries of which it is now so clearly a part. He is fascinated by the question of the longer histories of such an intersection, and by the nature of culture within capitalist societies.
Key areas of research interest include:
Contemporary and post-war art, design, film and visual culture; the yBas; aesthetics and theories of the sublime; landscape; eighteenth-century and early modern art, literature, thought and culture, especially in Britain; commodification and consumer cultures; martial arts cinema and the visual culture of martial arts; Hong Kong cinema; postcolonial theory; theories of the popular; Marxian thought and cultural histories and theories of capitalism.
(Doctoral students are welcome in the above areas.)
Key Research Projects:
The Political and Social History of Kung Fu Cinema
Luke's current research explores Hong Kong martial arts cinema genres of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He is interested in these as examples of popular and populist cinema, and in the forms of resistance and revolt that they might harbour. These are read within the context of countercultural and postcolonial discontent (in the intersection between the Cultural Revolution and '1968'), and of the entry of such films into global circuits of consumption. They open an exploration of a number of broader stakes, including: the question of the possibly resistant functions of popular culture; the forms of cultural (counter-)memory and practice that this might harbour; the post-colonial experience; problems of violence, non-violence and social change.
Some (fairly occasional) musings on this project are available at: http://kungfuwithbraudel.blogspot.co.uk/
He has published essays on this in, for example, Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies 5 (2014), Asian Cinema 26.1 (2016), and in The Martial Arts Studies Reader (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018) and Media in Asia Global, Digital, Gendered and Mobile (Routledge, 2022).
Luke's monograph, Legacies of the Drunken Master: Politics of the Body in Hong Kong Kung Fu Comedy Films was published by the University of Hawai'i Press in April 2020.
Forthcoming from Reaktion Books (June 2022) is Fighting without Fighting: Kung Fu Cinema's Journey to the West, which explores the history and ongoing cultural significance of the "kung fu craze" which swept America, Europe and the world in the 1970s.
Damien Hirst and the Histories of the Capitalist Sublime
Luke's PhD (awarded 2009) focused on Damien Hirst and the legacies of the sublime in contemporary art and culture. It proposed that the eighteenth-century poetics and aesthetics of the sublime were intertwined with the commercial imperatives of increasingly commodified cultural production. It argues that such a commodification of the sublime is not merely a contingency which befalls it, but is at the heart of its development. Hirst is a contemporary artist in whom we find a series of unsettling reiterations of this eighteenth-century commodified sublime. Reading such echoes – and looking for a way to understand the relation between current cultural production and the longer histories of modernity – the work ranges across a diverse series of loci, including the work of Jean-François Lyotard, Alexander Pope, Bruegel the elder, Mary Shelley, Emile Zola, Wordsworth, John Singleton Copley, Berthold Brecht, Jaws and Jeff Koons. It considers the history of representations of sharks, the figure of the Dunce in eighteenth century literature, and the meat markets of London and Paris.
As part of this project, Luke also co-edited (with Claire Pajaczkowska) the book The Sublime Now (Cambridge Scholars, 2009). This explored the contemporary legacy of the discourse of the sublime, exploring it history and recent resurgence, and asking about the ways in which the sublime might be a useful or dangerous concept to understand present-day cultural debates, including questions of landscape and ecology, subjectivity, the body, film, and the politics of terror.
Research Outputs RSS Feed:http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/cgi/exportview/creators/White=3ALuke=3A=3A/RSS2/White=3ALuke=3A=3A.xml
Research Outputs Page:http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/view/creators/White=3ALuke=3A=3A.html
White, Luke (2022) Fighting without fighting: Kung Fu cinema's journey to the West. Reaktion Books, London. ISBN 9781789145335 (Accepted/In press)
White, Luke (2022) Crippled warriors: masculinities and martial arts media in Asia. In: Media in Asia: Global, Digital, Gendered and Mobile. Kim, Youna , ed. Media, Culture and Social Change in Asia . Routledge, London and New York, pp. 239-252. ISBN 9780367653224 (Accepted/In press)
White, Luke (2020) Legacies of the drunken master: politics of the body in Hong Kong Kung Fu comedy films. Asia Pop! . University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu, USA. ISBN 9780824881573
White, Luke (2018) Carnival of the drunken master: the politics of the Kung Fu comedic body. In: The Martial Arts Studies Reader. Bowman, Paul , ed. Martial Arts Studies . Rowman and Littlefield, London, pp. 199-212. ISBN 9781786605498
White, Luke (2018) Conference report: Bruce Lee’s cultural legacies. [Digital artefact]