Reiterations of the Real in Colonial and Post-Colonial Korean Literature and Film

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Friday, April 4th, 2014

Friday, April 4, 20142:00PM - 4:00PM208N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
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“For all time,” Rancière tells us, “the refusal to consider certain categories of people as political beings has proceeded by means of a refusal to hear the words exiting their mouths as discourse.” This lecture traces the response to that refusal in literary and film texts in colonial and post-colonial Korea. I link aesthetic and critical demonstrations of the ambivalence of language and attendant notions of truth in colonial period literature and thought—a “crisis of representation”—to attempts in more recent work to represent the precarious subject through the reframing or disturbance of literary and visual fields. The discussion suggests connections between modernist strategies that challenged the communicability of language, the closely related critique of empiricism or scientific truth, and the reframing of linguistic and visual forms of intelligibility in present-day South Korean fiction and film.

Christopher P. Hanscom is an assistant professor in the department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. Author of The Real Modern: Literary Modernism and the Crisis of Representation in Colonial Korea (Harvard, 2013), a study of theories of language and modernist fiction in colonial Korea, and co-editor of Imperatives of Culture: Selected Essays on Korean History, Literature, and Society from the Japanese Colonial Era (Hawai’I, 2013), his research interests include the relationship between political and aesthetic forms, comparative colonialism, concepts of race and culture under Japanese empire, and representations of post-national sociality.


Lisa Qiu


Christopher Hanscom
Assistant Professor, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, University of California, Los Angeles

Janet Poole
Assistant Professor and Graduate Coordinator, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto

Main Sponsor

Centre for the Study of Korea


Asian Institute


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