Acquired Alterity: Migration, Identity, and Literary Nationalism
Speaker: Edward Mack
Professor of Japanese | Department of Asian Languages and Literature | University of Washington, Seattle
Moderator: Edwin Michielsen
Assistant Professor in Japanese Studies | School of Modern Languages and Cultures | University of Hong Kong
6 November 2023 (Mon)
10:00 am-11:30 am (HKT) on Zoom
(6:00 pm/Nov 5, Seattle, USA)
"Acquired Alterity" provides a history of the Japanese-language literary activities of early migrants to Brazil, examining bookstores, serialized newspaper fiction, original creative works, and critical apparatuses. It challenges the dominant mode of literary study, in which texts are often explicitly or implicitly understood through a framework of ethno-nationalism. Self-representations by writers in the diaspora reveal flaws in this prevailing framework through what Edward Mack calls "acquired alterity," in which expectations about the stability of ethnic identity are subverted in surprising ways. These flaws destabilize cultural analyses that make peoplehood constructs the ultimate objects of literary knowledge production.
Edward Mack is professor of Japanese at the University of Washington, Seattle. His first book, "Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature: Publishing, Prizes, and the Ascription of Literary Value" (Duke University Press, 2010), examines the relationship between the concept of a national literature and the publishing industry.