5 to 7pm
Towner Fellows Lounge
Dr. Nan Z. Da, University of Notre Dame
Taken from a book project that examines truly superficial cross-national exchanges, “Bibliographic Habitats” reads Asian American writer Sui Sin Far (Edith Maude Eaton)’s “Spring Fragrance” stories in a way they have never been read before. What is to be made of its claustrophobic habitat in which no piece of literature can appear without doing cross-cultural work? Because original reactions and voices are such rare commodities in early transnational studies— a subfield that argues that China and the West have been cross-engaging and cross-influencing long before the twentieth century– it has become standard practice to gauge transnational and crosscultural exchanges by tracing reception and textual traces. Is it possible, Da asks, that “transnational” stories simulate what is actually a methodological necessity in the discipline of cross-cultural literary analysis? The Spring Fragrance stories enable us to gauge the degree to which the distances between people and books are constructed, and ask why cross-cultural communication may not be thinkable without literary prostheses.
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