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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Dr Alasdair King, BA MA PhD FRSA


Reader in Film

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8311
Room Number: Arts One 2.08


My research is interdisciplinary, drawing on philosophy and film and media (often but not exclusively in a German context) to think about the relationship between aesthetics and critical political economy. My current research looks at the contemporary condition of the moving image, most centrally in the use made by filmmakers of posthuman image generation to address processes and technologies of valuation and extraction.

I’ve been working for some time on the relationship between the contemporary moving image (fiction and non-fiction films, mainstream and experimental) and economics, particularly on images that engage with the contemporary financial regime. This work began with articles on film and the financial city (Studies in European Cinema), on documenting financial performativity (Journal of Cultural Economy), on film and financial time (Archiv für Mediengeschichte), and a collaborative essay on art, activism, and ‘hacking’ the Bloomberg terminal (Finance and Society: Art and Finance Special Issue).

The first stage of this project culminated in my monograph, The Financial Image: Finance, Philosophy, and Contemporary Film, that appeared in the Palgrave Macmillan series, Palgrave Studies in Literature, Culture, and Economics in December 2023. The book sets out how film has registered systems of finance capital and derivatives, looking at moving images from the mainstream (including studies of Equity, The Wolf of Wall Street, Yella, The City Below, Master of the Universe, The Girl Rosemarie et al.) across to more experimental works by filmmakers like Emma Charles, Melanie Gilligan, Isaac Julien, Harun Farocki, Zachary Formwalt, and Hito Steyerl.

My first monograph, Hans Magnus Enzensberger: Writing, Media, Democracy (Peter Lang, 2007) grew out of my PhD research and considered Enzensberger’s critical essays and cultural production across poems and media outputs in the context of Frankfurt School and Marxist media theory and (West) Germany’s economic and political development in the second half of the twentieth century. I revisited this work recently with a chapter on the Anglophone reception of Enzensberger’s celebrated Constituents of a Theory of the Media essay for Les presses du réel.

I publish regularly on contemporary cinema, with a number of recent essays on Christian Petzold, Angela Schanelec, Christoph Hochhäusler and Edgar Reitz and on moving image ethics in Deleuze and in Rancière. My earliest articles were on German film history and analysed spatial politics in National Socialist cinema and in the Heimatfilm.

I was a DAAD Visiting Research Fellow at the Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main (2015).

In 2020 I set up and co-convened CAPITAL FORMS, a postgraduate training programme in the Economic Humanities, funded by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership.

I welcome PhD and post-Doc enquiries and collaborative and public engagement work in the areas listed above. I’d be keen to support projects that want to think about the moving image in relation to contemporary economic, political and philosophical questions, especially in the areas of AI and philosophy of technology, speculation, acceleration and futures, financialization, debt, and global capital generally. I am a member of the Film Philosophy research cluster and the Centre for Film and Ethics at QMUL.


Blue Sky:



  • FLM5203 What is Cinema? Critical Approaches
  • FLM5025/GER5025 The Divided Screen: German Cinema 1945-82
  • FLM302: Contemporary German Cinema
  • FLM6202 Undergraduate Film Research Project
  • SMLM035 MA Film Core Course
  • MA Research Dissertation

Current PhD Supervision

Weijia Zeng: Alfred Hitchcock and his Specters (Chinese Scholarship Council funded, 2020-ongoing, co-supervised with Dr Mario Slugan)

Nancy Wilson: The representation in German cinema 1946-1948 of urban space and its use in proposing new ways of living (LAHP Studentship funded, 2021–ongoing, co-supervised with Dr Mario Slugan)

I have supervised seven PhDs to successful completion with colleagues in Film. I have also been an External Examiner on seven PhDs to date at other universities.



Research Interests:


  • aspects of film philosophy
  • political aesthetics
  • finance aesthetics
  • cinema, space and time
  • German cinema


Books and edited works

  • The Financial Image: Finance Capital and Contemporary Film (Palgrave MacMillan: Literature, Culture, and Economics Series, forthcoming, 2021)
  • Hans Magnus Enzensberger: Writing, Media, Democracy (Peter Lang AG: Cultural History and the Literary Imagination Series, 2007)

Selected articles and book chapters

  • ‘Écritures d'un présent visible. Diffusions et réceptions anglo-saxonnes du Baukasten’ (traduit de l'anglais par Jeremy HAMERS & Céline LETAWE) in Hans Magnus Enzensberger:
  • ‘Wenn Die Provinz zweimal klingelt: Christian Petzolds HeimatfilmNoir Jerichow’. Translated into German by Ilka Brombach, in Über Christian Petzold, ed. Ilka Brombach (Verlag Vorwerk 8, 2018).
  • ‘Film and financial time’, Archiv für Mediengeschichte, Special issue: Media and financialization, Translated into German by Andrea Stumpf, Winter 2017
  • ‘Terminal Value: Building the alternative Bloomberg’, co-written with C. Wood, R. Catlow, and B. Scott, Finance and Society, Special Issue: Finance and Art, 2:2 2016
  • ‘Film and the Financial City’, Studies in European Cinema, 14:1, 2016
  • ‘Documenting financial performativity: film aesthetics and financial crisis’, Journal of Cultural Economy, 9:6, 2016
  • 'Fault Lines: Deleuze, cinema and the ethical landscape', in Cine-Ethics: Ethical Dimensions of Film Theory, Practice, and Spectatorship, ed. by Jinhee Choi and Mattias Frey (Routledge Advances in Film Studies, 2014)
  • 'Still Lives in Transit: Movement and Inertia in Angela Schanelec's Orly (2010), Studies in European Cinema, 11:2, 2014
  • 'What the World Needs Now: Rancière, ethology, and Christian Petzold's Toter Mann and Wolfsburg', in Edinburgh German Yearbook 7: Ethical Approaches in Contemporary German Language Literature and Culture, ed. by Emily Jeremiah and Frauke Matthes (Camden House: 2013)
  • 'No Place Like Heimat: Mediaspaces and moving landscapes in Edgar Reitz's Heimat 3', in New Directions in German Cinema, ed. by Paul Cooke and Christopher Homewood (I.B. Tauris, 2011)
  • 'Heimat 3: Edgar Reitz's Time Machine', in Cinema and Social Change in Germany and Austria, ed. by Gabriele Mueller and James Skidmore (Wilfried Laurier University Press, 2011)
  • 'The Province Always Rings Twice: Christian Petzold's HeimatFilm Noir Jerichow', Transit, 6:1, 2010. Translated into Mandarin, 2014. Translated into German in Christian Petzold, ed. by Ilka Brom-bach (Verlag Vorwerk 8, 2018).
  • 'Literatur und Linse: Enzensberger Goes to the Movies', in Transpositions: Literature to Film - Film to Literature, ed. by Hermann Rasche and Christiane Schonfeld (Rodopi, 2007)
  • 'Enzensberger's Titanic: The sinking of the German Left and the aesthetics of survival', in The Titanic in Myth and Memory: Representations in Visual and Literary Culture, eds. Tim Bergfelder and Sarah Street (I.B.Tauris, London) pp. 73-83.
  • 'Placing Green is the Heath (1951): Spatial politics and emergent West German identity' in Light Motives: German Popular Cinema, ed. by Randall Halle and Margaret McCarthy (Wayne State UP, 2003)
  • 'Landscape, ideology and national identity in the German cinema: A case study of Die goldene Stadt (1942)' in Deutschland im Spiegel seiner Filme, ed. by Martin Brady and Helen Hughes (CILT, 2000)

Other Publications 

  • Translation: TLS/Poem of the Week, 'Short History of the Bourgeoisie' by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Times Literary Supplement, 20 July 2013
  • Various Encyclopedia Entries: The Concise CineGraph: Encyclopaedia of German Cinema, ed. by H-J Bock and Tim Bergfelder (Berghahn Books, 2009)
  • ‘When Heimat Meets Hollywood. German Filmmakers and America 1985-2005’, Colloquia Germanica, 40:3-4, 2007
  • Review Article: `The Ministry of Illusion?', Journal of Area Studies, 13, Autumn 1998
  • Review Article: Culture in the Federal Republic of Germany 1945-1995, ed. by Reiner Pommerin (Berg, 1996), in 'Nation, Place and Culture: Issues of Identity in Contemporary Europe', Journal of Area Studies, 10, Spring/Summer 1996
  • Translation: 'Geo Milev - The Road to Freedom', babel, Summer 1991
  • Translation: `Visit to Ingres', H.M. Enzensberger, Times Literary Supplement, 13-19 July 1990
  • Translation: `Short History of the Bourgeoisie', H. M. Enzensberger, Times Literary Supplement, 15-21 June 1990
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