Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

145 - Postcolonialism and Posthumanism in Korean, Japanese, and Pakistani Science Fiction

7/7/2018
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Willow, First Floor

This panel investigates a crisscrossing between postcolonialist and posthumanist discourses by reading South and North Korean, Japanese-American, and Pakistani-British science fiction literature and film. Many writers in Far East Asia and the Middle East adopt the genre of science fiction to express opposition to neo-imperial, postcolonial, and nationalistic agendas. At the same time, the recent global regime of science requires scholars of postcolonialism to critique new apparatuses of neo-imperialism that exceed our conventional notions. Sang-Keun Yoo investigates the posthuman notion of “trans-corporeality” in relation to neo-imperial scientific regimes of truth by analyzing the South Korean director Joon-ho Bong’s science fiction film, The Host. Yoo analyzes various historical references, such as the electromagnetic wave from THAAD, in relation to chemopho-philic culture. Benoit Berthelier explores the influence of North Korea’s nationalist development policies on the country’s scientific imagery and imaginary through readings of science fiction novels. To do this, he compares Hollywood blockbuster tropes with North Korea’s nationalist rhetoric and tales of space travel with socialist realist production novels. Preston Waltrip reads Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, positing that Hamid uses cognitive estrangement as a narrative strategy in order to illustrate the elasticity of national borders, the dangers of nativism, and the inadequacy of dominant political conceptualizations of the global commons for dealing with “global” catastrophes. Leslie Fernandez examines Ruth Ozeki’s novel A Tale for the Time Being in close conversation with Samantha Frost’s concept of biocultural creatures and Karan Barad’s ‘intra-action’ to show how we are all Biocultural Creatures and Time Beings.

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Benoit Berthelier

University of California, San Diego, United States

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Preston Waltrip

University of California, Riverside, United States

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Leslie Fernandez

University of California, Riverside, United States

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