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Rethinking the Transnational: Across Media and Beyond Area

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Organizer: Andrea Mendoza

Co-Organizer: Julia Alekseyeva

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Organizers: Julia Alekseyeva, Andrea Mendoza, Keiji Kunigami

Our seminar interrogates the implications of the transnational across diverse media. Operating at a liminal space between national and global, transnational scholarship investigates the connections tying works of far-flung regions using a comparative framework. Yet as scholars of comparative literature, how do we theorize this framework? Does the transnational juxtapose rather than compare? Does it strive to understand the influence of one media over another, or is it beyond influence? How does the transnational study of media address how the national is nuanced, modulated, and complicated?

The comparative turn towards “the transnational” often represents a movement away from constructed boundaries of not only the nation, but also of class, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and language. In this way, the transnational challenges both the privileging of nationality or “area” as a field of study as well as the Eurocentric tendencies of other scholarship in the Humanities. Yet this appeal of the transnational does not always involve a determination or definition of what transnational itself. “Transnational” is often used as a reference to a critical framework for interdisciplinary scholarship. Frequently, we rethink the transnational to disrupt ideas about how subjects are constituted in the world.
In our seminar, we will take up the critical maneuver of transnational scholarship by bringing together scholars working in the space between seemingly disparate national traditions. However, this seminar does not necessarily align with the idea of transnational as a term of virtue; it may seek to answer the question: when can the transnational turn problematic? How can we understand the transnational through the violent and entangled histories of imperialism, capital, and power?
We will examine such questions by exploring transnational frameworks through diverse and intermedial perspectives on film, art, literary texts, television, radio, and audio recordings. We especially welcome papers that take up questions of race, gender, sexuality, and class as the foci of their arguments.
Topics might include, but are not limited to:
-       Transnational exchange and global media flows: How do ideas, images, sounds, and data circulate across boundaries? How have new media and the internet age shaped what we view as the transnational?
-       Transnationalism and subjectivity: Does the circulation of media complicate how we consider the concept of “the subject”? Is there a thing such as “transnational subjectivity”?
-       Imperialism, nationalism, globalization: How does the transnational reproduce or trouble the histories of these categories?
-       “Americanness,” Hollywood, and its discontents: How can we problematize Hollywood’s omnipresenc

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