Japanophone Literature in the Age of Three Worlds

Japanophone Literature in the Age of Three Worlds

Nayoung Aimee Kwon - Associate Professor of Korean and Japanese Cultural Studies, Duke University

Monday, February 17, 2020 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Room 202, Henry R. Luce Hall See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511

In the aftermath of Europe’s empires, linguistic continuities such as Anglophone and Francophone writings emerged as bona fide, albeit controversial, cultural legacies and fields of inquiry. A robust production and consumption of such writings and critical debates gave rise to writers and literary works that circulated widely albeit unevenly through global debates on World Literature and Postcolonial Studies. In the case of the Japanese empire, there exists a significant body of literary works that emerged from linguistic comings and goings across imperial borderlines that persisted long after the empire’s collapse. However, the notion of a Japanophone Literature, is rather unfamiliar, if not altogether strange, not only to a global readership, but even within Japan and its former colonies in the region. This talk seeks to examine the significance of the absence of a wider discourse on Japanophone Literature as a category of postcolonial inquiry as the world was being divided into three: first, second, and third. This absence will be used to inquire into the similarities and differences between postcolonial memories from the Japanese empire and that of the dominant European empires in the transwar transition from the age of empires to the global cold war.

Nayoung Aimee Kwon is an associate professor of Korean and Japanese Cultural Studies in the Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University. She is the Founding Director of the Asian American & Diaspora Studies Program and co-directs Duke Engage Koreas, a service-learning program working with refugee communities and is the author of Intimate Empire: Colonial Modernity and Collaboration in Korea and Japan (Duke University Press, 2015. Forthcoming in Korean from Somyông Press) among other works.  Her research and teaching interests include the politics of historical memories in East Asia and comparative theories of empires.

Japan, Korea, Transregional