Politics of Encounter: From Japanese Literary Studies to the Sinophone

Politics of Encounter: From Japanese Literary Studies to the Sinophone

Grace En-Yi Ting - Assistant Professor of Gender Studies, The University of Hong Kong

Thursday, April 18, 2024 - 12:00pm
Room 202, Rosenkranz Hall See map
115 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511

What does it mean to narrate a queer feminist ethical praxis of “encounter” and diaspora bridging disciplines, languages, and politics that rarely meet in academic writing or activisms?

My new research interweaves readings of Japanese fiction with Hong Kong, Sinophone studies, and queer women of color feminisms. In doing so, I question assumptions about the positionality of our readers, present and future, asking what Japanese literary studies might look like if we write for “Sinophone” queer/feminist readers, or queer/feminist of color readers. For example, I explore the significance of reading the loss of language and memories in Ogawa Yōko’s The Memory Police against the context of Hong Kong. Inspired by self-reflexive writing by scholars such as Shu-mei Shih and Rey Chow, I put myself on the page as a critique of the gender, sexual, and racial politics of Japanese studies.

Most of all, I reflect upon the encounters that shape a queer feminist project entangled with Asian contexts defined by layered imperialisms and political violence. How does one move through personal and collective trauma to continue encountering “others?” My talk focuses on the methodological challenges of navigating disciplinary norms but also possibilities of care and survival found through our own openness and dignity living through injury.

Grace En-Yi Ting is an assistant professor of gender studies at the University of Hong Kong. Her work includes writing on Japanese women writers and popular culture, as well as issues of race and gender in Japanese studies. Recent publications include “Ekuni Kaori’s Tears in the Night: The Brilliance of Queer Readings for Japanese Literary Studies” (Journal of Japanese Studies), with an Honorable Mention for the 2021 Kenneth B. Pyle Prize for Best Article, and “Grief, Translation, and the ‘Asian American Woman’ in Hong Kong” (Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature). She is working on a monograph reorienting Japanese literature through transnational encounters with the Sinophone and women of color feminisms, theorizing a queer feminist ethical praxis for border-crossing Asian contexts. In addition, she is engaged with collaborative work to expand resources for Asian/Asian American feminist pedagogies. She has been interviewed by CNN, TIME, and The China Project and spoke on anti-Asian violence on the Hong Kong television program RTHK The Pulse before it was cancelled shortly after. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, until July 2024.

China, Japan, Transregional, Hong Kong