February

24

2021

CGED Research Seminar Series

Imperial Romance: Desire and Intimacy in Korean Literature, 1905-1945

Imperial Romance: Desire and Intimacy in Korean Literature, 1905-1945

Speaker: Su Yun Kim, Associate Professor, Korean Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, HKU


Respondent: Lin Pei-yin, Associate Professor, School of Chinese, HKU

Moderator: Brian King, Assistant Professor, School of English, HKU


Date: 24 February 2021 (Wednesday)

Time: 7:30 PM

Delivery: via Zoom


Drawn from Su Yun Kim’s recent book, Imperial Romance: Fictions of Colonial Intimacy in Korea, 1905–1945 (Cornell UP, 2020), this talk discusses three literary works about Korean-Japanese intermarriage, romance, and mixed-race family published during the Japanese colonial era by the famous Korean authors Yi Injik, Yi Kwangsu, and Yi Hyosŏk. These stories focus on Korean men’s intimate and familial relationships with Japanese women while allowing us to explore how Korean men might have felt about becoming proper imperial subjects. This romance literature sheds a new light on the interconnection between gender, race, and imperialism, revealing the colonial male elites’ desire to rise in the imperial hierarchy and to claim their agency within Japanese and global imperialism.


Su Yun Kim is an Associate Professor in Korean Studies at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), specializing in modern Korean literature and culture. Recently she was a visiting scholar at the Harvard-Yenching Institute (2019-20), and she has previously taught at Hamilton College. She is the author of Imperial Romance: Fictions of Colonial Intimacy in Korea, 1905–1945 and of articles published in journals such as Asian Studies Review, The Journal of Korean Studies and Acta Koreana. Kim is also the co-editor of East Asian Transwar Popular Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).