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Korea and its Other Worlds: Korean Literature in Transnational Comparative Work

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Organizer: Melissa S. Karp

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This seminar invites scholars working on the media of Korea and at least one other region to discuss the challenges of comparative approaches to Korean literature and culture as they emerge in our own work. In recent years, we have seen increased interest in Korean topics within North American scholarship and popular discourse, and many scholars with multilingual, multimedial, and multinational competencies continue to turn our comparative projects toward Korean novels, film, television, and other narrative objects. Expanding on Lisa Yoneyama’s 2019 appeal that comparative cultural studies of Korea and Taiwan should be understood “conjunctively and transnationally as mutually conjoined, relational processes” this seminar asks scholars to interrogate how their comparative work on and beyond Korea engages with modes of relation, entanglement, and solidarity. The seminar is committed to approaches that scrutinize non-reciprocal comparative methods and offer Korean works as both objects to be explored through transnational theory and also as central theoretical texts.

By putting our work into conversation, the seminar aims to address some of the unique methodological concerns in comparative Korean media, including but not limited to issues in translation, unequal histories of comparison and international scholarly investment, rationale, etc. through a diverse array of projects. The papers will open discussion on the way Korean literature positions itself both vis-à-vis other literary “worlds” and with respect to its own history, language, geography, and culture.

Panelists working on a wide range of geographic regions including inter-Asian comparison and intercontinental comparative work addressing Europe, Latin America, Africa, North America and/or Australia are invited to apply. Research on pre-modern, modern, or contemporary culture including novels, poetry, film, television, music, visual art, or other forms are welcome.

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