Conjuring People: Pasolini’s Specters and the Global South

Date of Award

Fall 10-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Comparative Literature

First Advisor

Andrew, Dudley


Pier Paolo Pasolini’s encounter with the Global South is probably one of the most challenging and fascinating aspects of his long-standing legacy. It is not surprising that, along with studies focusing on the potentialities of his approach to the “Southern Question” as well as the decolonization process, scholars have also criticized his romanticizing and orientalist representations of Third World countries.However, only a small amount of work has been devoted to how filmmakers from the Global South have engaged with Pasolini. Analyzing the points of contact between the Italian director and Global South filmmakers can shed new light not only on Pasolini’s own work but also on the construction of alternative, non-Western modernities. This dissertation addresses this gap by considering the encounters between Pasolini and filmmakers such as the Brazilians Glauber Rocha and Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, the Indian Ritwik Ghatak, and the South Korean Ha Gil-Jong. Specifically, in this project I look at how Pasolini’s cinema participated in the broader discussion of decolonization and the Global South in the ’60s and ’70s. Drawing on Alessia Ricciardi’s interpretation of Pasolini in her 2003 book The End of Mourning, I further develop her notions of spectrality, mourning, and “time out of joint” to better understand the political cinema of the Global South. The idea of a “time out of joint” and the spectral coexistence of different temporalities is, I argue, what connects Pasolini with the directors under consideration in this dissertation. By working with and against Pasolini, by encountering but also challenging him, the works of these filmmakers resisted the “melancholia” concerning the irreversibility of history that the Italian director sometimes suffered from. If there is a future for Pasolini, it is to be found in the deterritorialization of his work and the creation of new and unexpected alliances.

This document is currently not available here.