Janet Poole

Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Studies
Affiliated Faculty, Centre for the Study of Korea at the Asian Institute




Room 14097, 130 St. George St.


Janet Poole (Ph.D., Columbia University) is an Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies. Her research focuses on modernism in mid-20th century Korea, the relationship between aesthetics and formations of colonialism and postcolonial national division, theories of translation and the practice of literary translation. She is author of When the Future Disappears: The Modernist Imagination in Late Colonial Korea (Columbia University Press, 2014), winner of the 2015 Modernist Studies Association Book Prize. She is translator of the work of famed colonial-era modernist Yi T’aejun. A selection of Yi’s translated short stories, covering the course of his career in colonial Korea and the early Democratic People’s Republic, will appear soon as Dust and Other Stories (Columbia University Press). Eastern Sentiments (Columbia University Press, paperback edition, 2013) is a collection of anecdotal essays published during the Pacific War by Yi. She is currently working on several projects: an exploration of the remains of colonial history through a study of Japanese-style houses on the Korean peninsula; essays on the social life of early twentieth-century photography; and a study of North Korea’s global modernism.

research interests

Aesthetics and colonialism/postcolonialism
Fascism and modernism,
Literature and photography of the Japanese empire
Literary translation and translation theory


Ph.D. Columbia University, 2004

M.A. University of Hawai’i at Manoa, 1995

B.A. (Hons) University of London, 1992

awards and distinctions

Honorable Mention, James B. Palais Book Prize, Association of Asian Studies, 2016

Winner, Modernist Studies Association Book Prize, 2015

Weatherhead East Asia Institute First Book Prize, 2012

Korean Literature Translation Institute Selected Translator Award 2010

Distinction awarded for dissertation, “Colonial Interiors: Modernist Fiction of Korea,” 2004

32nd Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Translation Awards, Short story category, for translation of Yun Dae-nyong, “The Walk of Light,” 2001

selected publications

Yi T’aejun, Dust and Other Stories. Translated and edited by Janet Poole. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018.

“The Remains of Colonial History.”  In Clark W. Sorensen and Andrea Gevurtz Arai ed., Spaces of Possibility: In, Between, and Beyond Korea and Japan.  Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2016.

When the Future Disappears: The Modernist Imagination in Late Colonial Korea. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.

“Late Colonial Modernism and the Desire for Renewal.” Journal of Korean Studies 19, no. 1 (Spring 2014): 179-203.

Yi T’aejun, Eastern Sentiments. Translated and edited by Janet Poole. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.

recent courses

Approaches to East Asia
Aesthetics and Politics in 20th century Korea
Modernism and Colonial Korea
Specialist Research Seminar
Material Culture in East Asia (research seminar)
The Global Bildungsroman: Narratives of Development, Time and Colonialism
Modern Ruins

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