Organized Panel Session
This panel explores the development of literary history as an academic discipline from its beginnings in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to the present, with special emphasis on the linguistic, textual, and ideological exclusions that have resulted from historians’ traditional focus on the nation-state as a unit of analysis. Methodologically, the panelists engage two major contemporary trends in East Asian literary studies: first, recent attention to the ways in which the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean literary canons as they have been traditionally constituted might be historicized and expanded to include previously occluded genres, genders, scripts, and individual voices; second, a growing interest in the role of Sinitic literature as a transregional written lingua franca and point of contact between cultures. In contrast to the bounded scope of national literary historiography, the three papers are united by the argument that transregional contact was fundamental to the generation of emergent concepts of canon, authorship, and literary community in early modern and modern East Asia. By exploring the transmission and reception of Sinitic literary texts in contexts ranging from late imperial Chinese popular culture to Meiji-period Japanese academia to contemporary Korean media, the presenters offer new perspectives on the processes of periodization, authorship, and anthologization that have served as conceptual anchors for East Asian literary studies during the past century and a half.