Hyunjeong Lee

Friday, June 2, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E. 60th St.)

Hyunjeong Lee, Against the Bamboo Curtain: Ri Yŏng-hŭi’s Writings on China in the 1970s

Please join us this Friday for a presentation by Hyunjeong Lee, Associate Professor in Department of Chinese Language and Culture at the University of Seoul. Professor Lee summarizes her talk as follows:

This talk revisits South Korean journalist and scholar Ri Yŏng-hŭi’s (1929-2010) writings on China in the 1970s in an attempt to find a productive way to approach China’s socialist experience within the context of Korean intellectual history. Ri’s lively and rigorous writings on contemporary China in the 1970s, which relentlessly challenged the mainstream anti-Communist views, had a profound impact on South Korea’s younger generation of the time. However, after witnessing the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, as well as the political and social changes that occurred in China after the 1980s, Ri admitted not only that his knowledge of contemporary Chinese affairs was far from complete, but also that his enthusiasm about Chinese socialism was mistakenly ideal.

As I closely examine the details of Ri’s retreat in his position with regards to Chinese socialism and the significance of this retreat for South Korean intellectuals, I suggest that Ri’s retreat leads us to confront the fundamental dilemma embedded in the Cultural Revolution, that is, the complex relationship between enlightenment and collectivity. Based on Ri’s perception of the Cultural Revolution as “a revolution of humanity,” as well as his understanding of Chinese writer Lu Xun, I argue that Ri appreciated the coexistence of enlightenment and collectivity at some level during the Cultural Revolution, although he was not able to fully tease out the above-mentioned dilemma underlying this coexistence. Korean scholars of the present day need to contemplate the dilemma that Ri left unclarified as he retreated.

Please note that there will be no pre-circulated paper for this meeting. As our final meeting of the year, the workshop will be followed by a reception with food and drinks. We look forward to your attendance!

Brian White

Friday, May 19, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in Wieboldt 301N

Brian White, “Cyborg Self, Android Other: Race, Technology, and Subjectivity in Japanese SF”

Discussant: Sabine Schulz (PhD Student, EALC)

Please join us this Friday (5/19) as we host Brian White (PhD Student, EALC). Brian will present a draft of his dissertation proposal. He summarizes the project as follows:

The dissertation project outlined in this proposal seeks to bring together three conceptual concerns – technology, race, and the body – through the mediating object of Japanese science fiction (SF) media across the 20th century.  Looking at the three key historical moments of the 1920s-30s, 1960s, and 1990s-2000s, the project asks how the racialized body has persisted as a site of contestation, even as technological advancement and (post)modernity attempted to efface it as such.  In part a continuation of recent attempts to read genre literature into Japanese media history, and in part an investigation of how East Asian area studies can add additional nuance to the conversation on race and SF already begun by Afrofuturist studies, the proposed dissertation lies precisely at the intersection of media studies and area studies.

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.

Robert Tierney

Friday, May 12, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E. 60th St.)

Robert Tierney, “Terminal Time, Authenticity, and Looking Back at Meiji”

This Friday, in conjunction with the East Asia: Transregional Histories workshop and the Midwestern Japanese Studies Workshop, we are pleased to host Robert Tierney (Associate Professor of Japanese Literature, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Professor Tierney will be presenting a chapter draft from his current book project. The chapter is an exploration of the writing of Nakae Chōmin’s One Year and a Half and its sequel, composed in 1901 after Chōmin was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In the chapter, Professor Tierney explores the concept of “terminal time,” and how Chōmin both reacted to and learned to live with his death sentence as reflected in the two novels.

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.