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Richard Allen’s research interests as a scholar began in the areas of film theory and the philosophy of film. His first book, Projecting Illusion (Cambridge University Press, 1997), articulated a sophisticated version of the illusion theory of representation as a basis for defending a psychoanalytic conception of spectatorship. He also edited with Murray Smith one of the first anthologies of analytic film theory entitled Film Theory and Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 1999), and, with Malcolm Turvey, Wittgenstein, Theory and the Arts (Routledge, 2001), which is a defense of humanistic understanding in opposition to various forms of theorizing in the arts.

Allen’s subsequent research has focused mostly upon film poetics and aesthetics. He is internationally renowned as a scholar of Alfred Hitchcock. He organized the Hitchcock Centennial Conference in 1999 that co-incided with the publication of Hitchcock: Centennial Essays (BFI, 1999), and he has edited two other anthologies on Hitchcock. In addition to writing 15 scholarly articles on Hitchcock, he is the author of Hitchcock’s Romantic Irony (Columbia University Press, 2007) that examines the relationship between sexuality and style in Hitchcock’s work. From 2001 to 2018, he was editor, with Sid Gottlieb, of the Hitchcock Annual (Columbia University Press).

Allen has also written extensively on Hindi cinema, commonly known as Bollywood. He collaborated with Ira Bhaskar (Jawarharlal Nehru University) on curating a film festival in Abu Dhabi and New York -- Muslim Cultures of Bombay Cinema--and writing an accompanying book Islamicate Cultures of Bombay Cinema (Tulika, 2009). His recent book with Bhaskar, Bombay Cinema’s Islamicate Histories (Intellect/Orient Blackswan, 2022), was nominated for the Krazna-Krausz book award 2023. His book manuscript, Double Trouble: A Poetics of Bombay Cinema, is currently under publisher review.

Growing out of writings on film theory, Hitchcock and Indian cinema, Allen’s newest research is an inquiry into the nature and importance of melodrama. He published an essay on “The Passion of Christ and the Melodramatic Imagination,” as well as on Hitchcock and Melodrama and he is developing a project on the “The Philosophy of Melodrama.”

Since joining the School of Creative Media in 2016, Allen has developed research at the intersection of art and new media. He organized two international conferences on Machine Learning and Art, Art Machines (2019) and Art Machines 2 (2021), and, with Jeffrey Shaw, he curated a major exhibition on computational art called Art Machines at the Indra and Harry Banga Gallery, CityU. He published the accompanying book length catalogue, Art Machines (2020), with CityU Press. He has also published on the new media art and writings of Jeffrey Shaw.
As Director of the Center for the Center of Applied Computing and Interactive Media (ACIM), Allen is collaborating as CityU PI on a project called Future Cinema Systems led by Jeffrey Shaw (HKBU) in collaboration with Sarah Kenderdine (EPFL), and funded by an ITF grant. Future Cinema Systems is building the next generation fully interactive and immersive 360-degree environment and generating artistic and curatorial applications for this environment. 

Research Interests/Areas

  • Bollywood
  • Bombay Cinema
  • Film Theory
  • Hitchcock
  • Melodrama
  • Philosophy of Film
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Wittgenstein