Daniela Licandro

Friday, April 28, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E. 60th St.)

Daniela Licandro, “Clumsy Democracy, Clumsy Jiantao: The Construction of a Collective Identity in Wei Junyi’s Recollections of Pain

Please join us this Friday as we host Daniela Licandro (PhD Candidate, EALC). Daniela will present a draft of one of her dissertation chapters, which she summarizes as follows:

This chapter explores the intersection of personal and collective memory in Wei Junyi’s (韦君宜1917-2002) understudied memoir, Recollections of Pain (Si tong lu思痛录, 1998). Written between 1976 and 1989, Wei’s text stands out in the sea of post-Mao memoirs that have tried to come to terms with the sufferings of the revolutionary era. The effort to critically reflect on the past, personal and collective, ensures Wei’s memoir a place in the large body of “literature of reflection” (fansi wenxue反思文学). The chapter engages with the “reflective” agenda of the text and asks how reflection operates, what its models are, and how it relates to the collective identity constructed in the text. I argue that self-criticism (jiantao 检讨)—the socialist practice of self-analysis meant to identify one’s mistakes and reform oneself—provides Wei Junyi with an important model to examine the past. The logic of self-criticism is summarized by the formula “unity-struggle-unity.” Wei’s memoir, in its entirety, re-enacts the formula. On trial is her and other people’s deviation from the original project of eliminating privileges and building a democracy. In the “self-criticism” Wei carries out the “self” is however not simply the individual self but a collective self. It is this collective identity that allows Wei to intertwine, in the memoir, the widely felt urgency to reflect on the past with contemporary debates on democracy. My study of the intersection of personal and collective identity in Recollections of Pain shows how collective narratives did not disappear immediately after the end of the revolutionary period. Moreover, reading Wei’s memoir from the perspective of how it recuperates and/or departs from the rhetoric and structure of jiantao allows a better understanding not only of the place of self-criticism within the broader context of cultural and literary practices, but also of its relation to the way literature was imagined, desired, and pursued.

The paper is available directly below, or at this link. If you have not received the password, or have questions about accessibility, please feel free to contact Alex Murphy at murphya1@uchicago.edu.

Nicholas Lambrecht

Friday, April 14, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. in Wieboldt 301N

Nicholas Lambrecht, “Long Repatriate Postwars: Memory and Postmemory in Contemporary Japanese Repatriation Literature”

Discussant: Norma Field (Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor in Japanese Studies in East Asian Languages and Civilizations)

Please join us this Friday (4/14) as we host Nicholas Lambrecht (PhD Candidate, EALC). Nicholas will present a draft of one of his dissertation chapters. He summarizes the chapter as follows:

Nearly seven million Japanese colonists and soldiers underwent traumatic journeys of repatriation to Japan at the end of the Second World War. “Repatriation literature” (hikiage bungaku) written about these experiences reveals the enduring questions of culture and identity prompted by the process of repatriation from overseas. This paper deals with contemporary authors of repatriation literature who describe the memories and postmemories that connect them personally to repatriation. The writing of these authors incorporates a strong focus on the postwar experiences of civilian repatriates, as well as descriptions of the hardships that repatriates endured upon their return to a nation that was invested in forgetting its imperial past. This contemporary repatriation literature broadens the scope of the genre and reaches contemporary audiences that never underwent repatriation, revealing and reinforcing the ongoing relevance of repatriation in contemporary Japanese society.

The paper is available at this link. If you do not have the password, or if you have concerns about accessibility, please contact Alex Murphy at murphya1@uchicago.edu.

Theodore Hughes

Wednesday, April 12, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Wieboldt 301N

Next Wednesday, Professor Theodore Hughes will join Professor Kyeong-Hee Choi’s seminar Korean Literature, Foreign Criticism as a guest speaker. Professor Hughes is Korea Foundation Associate Professor of Korean Studies in the Humanities at Columbia University. This is an open seminar, and those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP with Professor Choi at kchoi@uchicago.edu.

Discussion will center on two short stories in conjunction with selected chapters from Professor Hughes’ book Literature and Film in Cold War South Korea: Freedom’s Frontier (Columbia University Press, 2014). Please find the readings in the above post. For password access, please e-mail murphya1@uchicago.edu.

This event is sponsored by the Committee on Korean Studies at the Center for East Asian Studies.