Asian Cosmopolitanisms

Thursday, November 1, 2018

November 1, 2018, 4 pm, Wilson 142

Based on the historical and cultural connections between Russia and East Asia, this talk discusses how the literary relations between these regions complicate current discussions concerning “world literature.” The case of Russia and East Asia and their leftist literary relations refute the diffusionist model of world literature and the perspective that sees literary works as embedded in the competitive relations of national literatures. Through a discussion of recent world literary theories,  Cho argues that we would be better served by thinking of world literature less as an entity made up of certain literary works which must, by its nature, operate by inclusion and exclusion or a single diffusionist network defined by hierarchical and competitive relations than as a totality of entangled literary and cultural relations and processes through which new meanings and implications are generated. Rethinking world literature as a methodology, not merely as an object to know, also provides new perspectives that allows us to understand the world better through literatures and their connections.

Heekyoung Cho is Associate Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures at the University of Washington. She is the author of Translation’s Forgotten History: Russian Literature, Japanese Mediation, and the Formation of Modern Korean Literature (Harvard University Asia Center, 2016). Her articles discuss topics on translation and the creation of modern fiction, translation and censorship, serial publication, and webcomics. She is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship. Her current research focuses on seriality in cultural production both in old and new media including digital serialization and transmedial production.