Organized Panel Session
The field of trauma studies has rightly focused attention on the faculties of the mind in literary perceptions of traumatic experience. However, the geography of traumatic experience, and in particular the importance of space in the depiction of trauma in literature, warrant further scrutiny. This panel seeks to enrich scholarly discussions of literary trauma via an interregional and translational dialogue concerning troubling spaces and places within East Asian texts. We posit both place and space as not merely passive arenas or repositories of traumatic experience, but as active participants in literary practice which restrict, reconstruct, and reignite the perception of emotional distress. To these ends, this session examines the following topics: Yiju Huang explores highly politicized rejections and celebrations of haunted literary spaces from a short story collection composed during China’s Cultural Revolution; Kyle Ikeda examines the reemergence of traumatic memories in the environments of a post-war Okinawan short story that moves through reshaped battlefields and newly built American military bases; Yoon Jeong Oh revisits the trauma of border crossings through speaking bodies and and across Korean, Zainichi Korean, and Korean American literary traditions; Thomas Noel reconsiders a medieval Chinese poet’s meditations on ecological disaster with respect to concurrent microcosmic conceptions of the body. It is hoped that these presentations will not only serve to promote novel critical approaches to troubled literary places and spaces drawn from uniquely East Asian canons, but moreover facilitate further engagement between the broader disciplines of trauma studies and the geohumanities.