2017 KLA Workshop

2017 Korean Literature Association Workshop:

In Search of New Horizons: One Hundred Years of
Modern Korean Literature

Boston University, Oct. 27-29, 2017

Colloquium Room, Photonics Center, Boston University
8 St. Mary’s Street, 9th floor, Boston, MA 02215

Concurring with the centennial of Yi Kwangsu’s The Heartless (Mujŏng, 1917), a work often described as the first modern Korean novel, the 2017 Korean Literature Association workshop will bring together emerging and established scholars of modern Korean literature from around the world to examine the current state of the field and set new agendas for future research. Speakers will explore a broad range of topics—from colonialism to Cold War aesthetics, from domestic novels to science fiction, from dissident literature to modernism, from major canonical authors to diasporic and queer writers, and from sonic narratives to contemporary literature in new media—while reassessing the conventional categories, periodizations, and boundaries that have framed our understanding of modern Korean literature. After incorporating feedback from the workshop, the papers will be published in the Routledge Handbook of Modern Korean Literature (forthcoming in 2019). A special panel will be added to bring Yi Kwangsu’s The Heartless into dialogue with other “first novels” in late-developing modernities such as China, Japan, Germany, and Russia.

DAY I: October 27, 2017

9am-9:15 am: Opening Remarks

  • Sarah Frederick (Associate Chair, World Languages & Literatures, BU)
  • Yoon Sun Yang (Workshop Organizer, Korean, BU)

9:15 am-10:40 am: Panel 1) Crossing Borders, Redrawing boundaries   

  • Nayoung Aimee Kwon (Duke University), Figure of the Translator: Kim Saryang between Modern Korean and Japanese
  • Travis Workman (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities), Migration, Bordering, and the Regional Imaginary in Colonial Period Frontier Literature
  • Discussant: Karen Thornber (Harvard University)

10:40-10:55am: Coffee Break

10:55 am-12:20pm: Panel 2) Editors and Publishers of Korean Literature

  • Wayne De Fremery (Sogang University, S. Korea), Time and Materials—The Matter of Poetic Expression in 1920s Korea
  • Jiwon Shin (Arizona State University), Hansi as National History: Publishing The Anthology of Poetry of the Great Eastern Nation (1918)
  • Discussant: Wiebke Denecke (BU)

12:20pm-1:20 pm: Lunch

1:20- 2:45pm: Panel 3) Language, Ethnicity, and Boundaries: Zainichi (Korean Residents in Japan) Writers

  • Cindi Textor (University of Utah), Zainichi Writers and the Postcoloniality of Modern Korean Literature
  • Jonathan Glade (Michigan State), Fracturing Literary Boundaries: Connections between Koreans in Japan and the Korean Peninsula, 1945–1952
  • Discussant: Samuel Perry (Brown University)

2:45-3 pm: Coffee Break

3pm-4:30 pm <<The Centennial of Yi Kwangsu’s Mujŏng I>>

  • Keynote: Hatano Setsuko (University of Niigata Prefecture, Japan)
  • Ellie Choi, Seoul and Hometown (kohyang) in Yi Kwangsu’s Mujŏng (The Heartless, 1917) and Hŭk (The Soil, 1932)
  • Discussant: Yoon Sun Yang (BU)

4:30-4:45pm: Coffee Break

4:45pm-6:10 pm: Panel 4) Curating the Korean Literary Canon

  • Sunyoung Park (USC), Decolonizing the Future: Postcolonial Science Fiction in South Korea
  • Immanuel Kim (Binghamton Univ.), Reading the Enemy: North Korean Literature on the Fringes of the Canon
  • Discussant: Daisy Yun Du (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology & Harvard-Yenching Institute)

6:30 pm: Dinner


Day 2: October 28, 2017

9 am-11:15 am: Panel 5) Contemporary Korean Literature in the Changing Mediascape: Radio, Digital Fiction, Podcasts, and Webtoon

  • Haerin Shin (Vanderbilt University), New Media in South Korean Literature: The Reflexive Novelty of Digital Literacy
  • Jina Kim (Dickenson College), From Radio to Podcasts: A History of Listening in Sonic Narratives in Modern Korea
  • We Jung Yi (Penn State University), Co-mixing Korean War Memories: Witness, Survival and Archive in Yoon Tae-ho’s Graphic Narrative Operation Chromite
  • Discussant: Petrus Liu (BU) & Dahye Kim (McGill University)

11:15 am-11:35am: Coffee break

11:35 am-1 pm: Panel 6) A New Paradigm: Mid-century Korean Literature 

  • Janet Poole (University of Toronto), Crossing the Great Divide: Mid-century Modernism on the Korean Peninsula
  • Ji Young Kim (CUNY, Queens College), Imagined Border Crossings in Mid-century Korean Literature
  • Discussant: Mi-Ryong Shim (Northwestern University)

1 pm-2 pm: Lunch

2-3:25 pm: Panel 7) South Korean Literature between Postcolonialism and Cosmopolitanism

  • Son Yukyong (Seoul National University, S. Korea), Cosmopolitan Literary Writers in South Korea
  • Youngju Ryu (University of Michigan), “What is Literature?”: Topographies of Postwar South Korean Criticism
  • Discussant: Seung-Hee Jeon (Boston College) & Sanjay Krishnan (English, BU)

3:25 pm-3:40 pm: Coffee break

3:40pm-5:40 pm  <<The Centennial of Yi Kwangsu’s Mujŏng II: Mujŏng and World Literature>>

  • Catherine Yeh (Chinese, BU), The forever contested beginning of the modern: Liang Qichao’s The Future Record of New China and Lu Xun’s “A Madman’s Diary.”
  • Yuri Corrigan (Russian, BU), The Korean ‘Idiot’: Reading Yi Kwangsu through Gogol and Dostoevsky
  • Peter Schwartz (German, BU), A Nation (?), in Love and in Print: Mujŏng and Werther as “First Modern Novels”
  • Discussant: J. Keith Vincent (Japanese, BU)

6 pm: Dinner

2016 KLA Workshop

2016 Korean Literature Association Workshop:

Intersections of Science, Language, and Literature
in Modern and Premodern Korea

Stanford University, Nov. 4-5, 2016


Science and literature studies have constituted an exciting arena for academic investigation in recent decades. The strengths of science and literature studies include their challenge to a science/humanities dichotomy fortified by specialization in academic disciplines, their inquiry into the relationship between language and knowledge, and a questioning of the gap between values and facts. Such dynamic approaches are reflected in scholarship on the history of science in East Asia. Publications such as Benjamin Elman’s A Cultural History of Modern Science in China (2009), Hiromi Mizuno’s Science for the Empire (2009), Aaron Moore’s Constructing East Asia: Technology, Ideology, and Empire in Japan’s Wartime Era, 1931-45 (2013), and John DiMoia’s Reconstructing Bodies: Biomedicine, Health and Nation-Building in South Korea Since 1945 (2013), have taken a historical approach to science, tracing the emergence of scientific discourses and their intersection with modernity and nation-building. More recently, three substantial volumes titled Munhak kwa kwahak (Literature and Science, 2013-2015) have pointed to the subtle ways that scientific discourse has shaped some of the most important literary and philosophical debates. Alongside Chris Hanscom’s “Matters of Fact: Language, Science, and the Status of Truth in Late Colonial Korea” (2013) and Travis Workman’s, Imperial Genus: The Formation and Limits of the Human in Modern Korea and Japan (2015), these recent publications demonstrate how Korea’s intellectuals in the modern era were working within a regime of discourses shaped as much by the language of science as they were by the evolving literary language itself.

Taking its cue from this growing body of scholarship, this workshop proposes to examine the intersection of science, language, and literature and expand this inquiry across periods, disciplines, and media, examining representations of science and scientific data in materials including but not limited to premodern archival materials, science textbooks, literature, popular science journals, general interest periodicals, and science fiction. One of our main goals is to think about the way texts and images in various genres have contended with science, and also about the ways that science relies on the medium of textual and visual narrative in a way that works to guide and shape the very projects it proposes to describe. The workshop will aim not only to expose the ways that science has been mobilized for various ideological projects and to serve different interests, but also to explore the ways in which the study of science and literature might produce insights that anticipate contemporary debates about the sciences and humanities.


Friday Nov 4


John Kim (Harvard University): “As the Crow Flies: Yi Sang’s Aerial Poetics”
Jina Kim (Dickinson College): “Science, Technology and the Mystery Genre”

Discussant: Chris Hanscom, UCLA


Sunyoung Park (USC): “Toward a History of Science Fiction in South Korea, 1960s-2010s”
Benoit Berthelier (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales / Yonsei University): “Encountering the Alien: Alterity and Innovation in North Korean Science Fiction since 1945.”

Discussant: Ban Wang, Stanford


Sixiang Wang (Stanford University): “Knowledge and the Written Word: Authority and the Indigenous in Late Chosŏn Korea (1700–1850)”
Sanghyun Kim (Hanyang University): “Science, Technology, and the Imagination of Modern Korea: Representations of Science and Technology in Sassangye, 1950s-1960s.”

Discussant: Yumi Moon, Stanford History

Saturday Nov 5


Changhwan Kim (University of Georgia): “Gender Politics and Science in Early Modern Korea through Pedagogic Magazines.”
Yoonsun Yang (Boston University): “The Anatomy of Pains, the Autonomy of Mind: (Pseudo-) Medical Science in Modern Korean Literature in the late 1910s and the early 1920s”

Discussant: Janet Poole, U of Toronto


Haerin Shin (Vanderbilt University): “The Neurocognitive Criminology of Avenging Memories: The Reflexive Mechanism of Dissociative Violence in Young-ha Kim’s The Mnemonics of a Murderer”
Namgyong Yeon (Ehwa Women’s University): “The Post-Human and Trans- Border Imagination in South Korean Literature”
Sophie Bowman (Ehwa Women’s University): “Frankenstein’s Customers: remodeled humans in Kim E-whan’s Your Metamorphosis”

Discussant: Hector Hoyos, Stanford DLCL


Roundtable discussion

Conference program (PDF)

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