|Friday, September 20, 2019||1:00PM - 3:00PM||208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place|
This talk is interested in how Korean literary and cultural critics have defined the idea of literature and what roles the idea serves in their larger arguments about the human being and history. It focuses in particular on mid-century Korea, from the late Japanese colonial period until the 1950s. The intention behind this periodization is to recognize both continuity and discontinuity between “before and after liberation,” particularly in relation to concepts of the human and their intersection with imperial, colonial, and national politics. Through texts by Paek Ch’ŏl, Ch’oe Chaesŏ, Sŏ Insik, and An Hamgwang, published in the Japanese empire, South Korea, and North Korea, I will discuss how and why these critics conceived of literature as the most important mediation between transcendental concepts, including moral and political ideas, and the everyday experiences of modernity. This situating of literature between ideas and experience was connected to the figure of the human, the “empirico-transcendental doublet” of modernity (Foucault), and thereby to modes of governmentality between Japanese empire, US and Soviet occupation, and the Korean national population. This talk comes out of a current book project, a collection of translations titled Humanism, Empire, and Nation: Korean Literary and Cultural Criticism.
Travis Workman is Associate Professor in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He is the author of Imperial Genus: The Formation and Limits of the Human in Modern Korea and Japan (Oakland: University of California Press, 2016). He has published articles in journals such as PMLA and positions and book chapters in volumes such as The Korean Popular Culture Reader and Rediscovering Korean Cinema. He is currently working on a collection of translations, Humanism, Empire, and Nation: Korean Literary and Cultural Criticism and a book manuscript, Political Moods: Melodrama and the Cold War in Korean Film.
If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.
Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-946-8900.