Re-Articulations: Foreign Literature Studies in Taiwan

Visiting Scholar Talks

Nov 18, 2021 | 12:00 PM

Event Registration

Speaker

Chih-ming Wang | Associate Research Fellow, Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica; HYI Visiting Scholar, 2021-22

Chair/Discussant

David Wang | Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

Co-sponsored with the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

Held via Zoom – registration required: https://harvard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEucOCpqTwiEtX3ewPRvf8kfFeqWZvmZKl7

This talk revisits the institutional and intellectual history of foreign literature studies in Taiwan through the lenses of colonial modernity and traveling theory. It contends that the discipline of foreign literature studies is fundamentally a project of re-articulation—not only to introduce the Western canon in local contexts, but moreover to resignify it in the global/local nexus for social political transformations. It is particularly wedded to the formation of the Taiwan-China division born out of the civil war and Cold War contexts in 1949. To explain the political meanings of its discipline formations, I will focus on two examples: CT Hsia’s literary modernism as a form of anti-Romanticism in the Cold War era and the translation of subjectivity as zhutixing in the post-martial law Taiwan. Whereas Hsia in the 1950s intended literary criticism to be a means for political rectification in modern China, the translingual birth of zhutixing in the 1990s literalized the power of theory in the making of postcolonial Taiwan.

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