Transpacific Resonances: Writing Self and Speaking to Others in Pahk Induk’s Life Writings
Jina E. Kim - Associate Professor, University of Oregon
How can one speak and write about the self in a language that is not one’s mother tongue? Are there limitations or does the author feel a kind of liberation that does not exist in using one’s native language? How does one make language their own? This presentation explores autobiographical writings by Pahk Induk (1897-1980): September Monkey (1954) and the sequels. Pahk was born and lived in Korea until 1926, then she moved to the US first as a student and eventually becoming a permanent resident while writing her autobiographies in English. I explore the technologies of narrating one’s own life because Pahk’s narratives lie both outsides and inside conventional literary studies, genre studies, area studies, and American ethnic studies. I posit what I am calling resonant identities as a mode of self-representation that Pahk uses to narrate her non-belonging in Korean society as exceptional while struggling to internalize her desire for belonging. In addition, I apply resonance as a methodological frame to probe the spatial-temporal history of the mid-20th century, which was one of the most pivotal decades in geopolitical realignment between Korea, Japan, and the US.
Jina Eleanor Kim is an associate professor of Korean literature and culture in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Oregon. She is the author of Urban Modernities in Colonial Korea and Taiwan, a comparative study of modernist literature and culture emerging in Seoul and Taipei during the Japanese colonial era; co-editor of The Journal of Korean Studies special issue on “Intermedial Aesthetics: Korean Literature, Culture, and Film,” a collection of essays that show how the movements across media can open up new ways of engaging in transnational, interdisciplinary work on Korea. She is currently completing a second book project on Auditory Texts in Colonial Korea, which examines the relationship between emerging genres and new sound media technologies, especially through the study of radio and radio dramas. Her current research project is on global Korean literature and transpacific studies which probes the boundary between area studies and ethnic studies, more specifically Korean literature and global Korean diasporic literatures.