[CFP ACLA 2018] Performativity as Critique: The Transpacific Under and After Imperialism

Satoko Kakihara's picture
Call for Papers
September 21, 2017
California, United States
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Literature, Cultural History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies


2018 Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)

March 29–April 1, 2018

UCLA, Los Angeles, CA


The Performativity as Critique: The Transpacific Under and After Imperialism seminar at the 2018 ACLA Annual Meeting invites submissions for individual papers. Submissions can be made between Thursday, August 31, 12 PM EST and Thursday, September 21, 9 AM EST, through the ACLA online portal. Please visit https://www.acla.org/annual-meeting for more details about the meeting.


Performativity as Critique: The Transpacific Under and After Imperialism


Recent scholarship has discussed decolonization and the afterlife of empire in different geopolitical contexts, such as the British and French empires. Political and social aspects of decolonization have undergone heated discussions for the East Asian context as well, in studies of diaspora and repatriation, the continued conflict in the recognition of, and reparations for, former Comfort Women from Korea and other regions, remembrances of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the history textbook controversies and territorial disputes among China, Japan, and Taiwan, as well as the decolonization and independence movements and economic struggles of the Okinawans. At the same time, although the cultural aspect of shifts in national boundaries also has been analyzed, approaches to the region from a transpacific perspective and as a site for cultural performances have become more productive and necessary. Different from the grand narratives of a nation’s defeat or liberation, such approaches reveal—through analyses of literature, film, and mass media—how individual authors, intellectuals, soldiers, colonial subjects, men, women, and children collaborated with and resisted the Japanese empire and the nation-states in postwar East Asia. Given such stakes, this seminar explores how cultural products generate and represent sentiments of both desire and resistance during imperialist and postcolonial periods in the Asia-Pacific region. The seminar welcomes papers that discuss a range of questions regarding the relationship between individual subjects and social and state institutions, from literary to visual texts, from East Asia to Polynesia and the United States, from the start of Japan’s modernization in 1868 and continuing through postwar military occupation up to the present. How do texts construct the individual body as simultaneously a representation of the national body and also its other? How do urban and rural spaces accommodate intimacies among differently racialized groups while also creating and reinforcing their differences? How do individual subjects find expressions of gendered identity in literary and visual cultures by taking up issues such as marriage and maternity within modernization? How are memories of the empire recounted, remediated, or produced in its afterlife by individuals as part of their own identity politics? Through discussions of these and other questions, the seminar aims to discuss how cultural products contribute to the historiography of the Japanese empire specifically, and colonial and postcolonial relationships in the transpacific region more broadly.


Please contact Satoko Kakihara at <skakihara@fullerton.edu> for more information. ACLA features a unique structure in which presenters participate in a multi-day seminar that explores a particular topic. Papers abstracts accepted by the seminar will be notified by Thursday, October 5.


Contact Info: 

Junliang Huang, California State University, Northridge; Satoko Kakihara, California State University, Fullerton

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