The 3rd Biennial Cross-Currents Forum

* The 3rd Biennial Cross-Currents Forum 


Multiple Modernities in East Asia:

Everyday Lives, Popular Culture, and the 
Practice of Technological Governance


Research Institute of Korean Studies

Korea University

June 27-29, 2013

The 3rd biennial Cross-Currents Forum co-sponsored by the Research Institute for Korean Studies at Korea University (RIKS) and the Institute of East Asian Studies at UC Berkeley (IEAS) will bring together scholars from across the Asia-Pacific region and from a wide variety of disciplines in cultural and historical studies in order to explore the overarching theme of Multiple Modernities in East Asia. Their presentations and discussions will examine the multifaceted ways in which individuals and their personal lives have been affected and represented in the trajectories of modern history and how ordinary individuals have, in turn, affected and represented our understandings of modernity. The Forum will focus, in particular, on the concept of everydayness to explore the contingencies and quandaries embedded within so-called East Asian Modernity. Research presented at the Forum will be reviewed for publication in Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review, the online and print journal edited jointly by RIKS and IEAS.

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The Forum’s panels are divided into the following interlocking topics:

•  Translation and Modernity in the Transcultural Circulation of Chinese Literature

The first panel of the Forum will trace the rise of vernacular literature and its transcultural circulation within the Chinese cultural sphere, paying particular attention to the practice of translation. As a precursor to the discovery of the individual, often viewed as a modern concept, pre-modern Chinese fiction germinated the emerging conception of everydayness and individual agency in its representation of daily lives. Paying simultaneous attention to the (dis)continuity of modernity, the panelists will discuss production and reproduction in daily lives, the transformation of temporality and spatiality, and the relationships of individuals to other units—family, local communities, the state, East Asia, and the world—through (re)readings of pre-modern Chinese texts. In so doing, the presenters will also examine the transcultural practice of translation and the relationship between word and image.

•  Inquiries into Colonial Visuality and its Postcolonial Legacy in East Asia

The three panels on Friday will focus on larger questions of colonial culture in Korea, with an emphasis on visual media and their cultural function in narrating and visualizing colonial history. Encompassing film, art, and photography from the colonial and postcolonial periods, this part of the Forum will bring attention to the ways in which various visual works mark unique instances of engagement with conundrums of colonialism, while shaping and transforming the sociocultural memories of the colonial period in postcolonial Korea. A varied set of forces and circumstances will be brought under consideration, such as state power, capital investment, and audience involvement, as well as the cinematic mode of history writing and art discourse. Concurrently, the panelists will explore the protracted legacy of colonialism, its echoes and dissonances, to illuminate the shifting cultural coordinates of colonial history and the geopolitics of the Cold War.

• Scientific Modernity and the Practice of Technological Governance

The two panels on Saturday will explore the complex links between metropole and colony with a special focus on the circulation of technological and scientific knowledge and personnel within the Japanese Empire. By looking into the strategic and ideological uses of technology to expand the empire and the process of governing colonized bodies through medical science and physiographical knowledge, the panelists will examine the multifaceted workings of scientific modernity in the Japanese Empire.