CFP, Thinking Transpacifically: Cultural Production in Cold War Asia, ACLA 2018

Clara Iwasaki's picture

This session focuses on the literary, cinematic, and cultural production of newly formed Asian states during the Cold War. Many Asian states: Japan, South Korea, North Korea, South Vietnam, Taiwan, and the People’s Republic of China were formed as a result of Cold War partitions.  Our panel seeks to reimagine Asian literary and cultural production outside of the typically bifurcated lens of the Cold War, through the developing fields of transpacific and Cold War studies. This session seeks to read against the grain exploring how cultural products can reveal the fault lines in, and present alternatives to, the prevalent national discourse on the Cold War during this period. We are particularly interested tracking the individual and idiosyncratic transpacific trajectories of cultural production.  These paths, often complex and multidirectional, reveal unexplored cultural formations and discourses.

By exploring the movement of texts through the transpacific, this session’s goal is to interrogate instances of the construction of Cold War memory in which state discourse is transmuted and fractured. This panel builds on scholarship of American state intervention in promoting and criticizing American involvement in the Pacific and around the world, such as that of Christina Klein and Andrew Rubin, and a new wave of scholarship by scholars examining cultural production of the transpacific, such as Richard So, Lisa Yoneyama, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Janet Hoskins. Studying Cold War Asia through the lens of the transpacific enables us to look at potential linkages and antagonisms outside of the confines of models of national literature and area studies.

While the Cold War divided the world in two: North and South Korea, North and South Vietnam, the People’s Republic of China on the mainland and the Republic of China on Taiwan, tracing the movements of individuals and texts reveals moments of collusion, opposition, or appropriation. Thinking transpacifically creates space to interrogate the ways that cultural flows problematize the partitioning of Asia, whether through the physical dislocation or cultural production: through, the forced migration of Asian refugees fleeing America’s hot wars, or the appropriation of literary works to reinforce authoritarian Asian regimes.

We invite proposals on topics related to transpacific cultural production during the Cold War, including but not limited to literary depictions of Cold War partition, inter-Asian involvement in the “hot” wars of the Cold War, Anglophone Asian literature, and the formations of Cold War cinema.

Please feel free to contact me at and apply to the panel here by September 21: