HRC presents LitFest 2023 from August 30 to September 2

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The Humanities Research Center is pleased to announce the program for our fall literary festival at DKU. The festival features four keynote speakers including authors and critics, and provides students with the opportunity to engage in small seminars with the keynote speakers over a two day conference on Friday and Saturday, September 1-2.

In addition, students can learn about the research labs and projects that are sponsored by the HRC. This is a good way to discover opportunities for research and to meet the faculty and students who are involved.

The festival also celebrates the launch of the new creative writing track as part of  the Global Cultural Studies major.

The conference will be preceded by two award-winning film screenings introduced by DKU students and will conclude with literary readings from DKU students, faculty and guests.

Register to attend the LitFest here by Monday 28 August at 9am.

Please note that the program may be subject to modification.

Keynote Speakers

Joey Chin is an artist and writer. She works at the intersections of text, narrative and visual art, staged through language, poetry, acts and modes of reading, and various disruptions. Her key focus is in the development of personal communications between the self, markings of territoriality, and the inner conversations between the two. Joey holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the City University of Hong Kong, and her work has received scholarships, grants, and awards from numerous organisations including the Korea Arts and Culture Education Service, the Asia Europe Foundation, the Royal Over-seas League Arts, the Dorothy Cheung Foundation, the National Arts Council, the Run Run Shaw Library and the Society for Humanistic Anthropology.

Stacilee Ford is a professor of history at the University of Hong Kong and teaches cultural history and transnational American studies in the Faculty of Arts. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection between gender, national identity, generation, and historical context. She is particularly interested in how people are changed by their cross-cultural encounters through travel, migration, and popular culture. She is the author of  Mabel Cheung Yuen-Ting’s An Autumn’s Tale (Hong Kong University Press, 2008) and, Troubling American Women: Narratives of Gender and Nation in Hong Kong (Hong Kong University Press, 2011), She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University; a Master’s degree from Harvard University; and doctorates from Columbia University and The University of Hong Kong.

Dong Li 李栋 is a multilingual writer who translates from Chinese, English, French, and German. Born and raised in China, he was educated at Deep Springs College and Brown University. He has served as the Olive B. O’Connor Fellow in Creative Writing at Colgate University. He’s the recipient of fellowships from Akademie Schloss Solitude, American Literary Translators Association, Deutscher Übersetzerfonds, Camargo and Humboldt Foundations, Literarisches Colloquium Berlin, Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen, MacDowell, PEN/Heim Translation Fund, Yaddo, and others. He is the English translator of The Gleaner Song (Giramondo & Deep Vellum, 2021) by SONG Lin, The Wild Great Wall (Deep Vellum, 2018) by ZHU Zhu; the German co-translator (with Lea Schneider) of Gesellschaft für Flugversuche (Carl Hanser Verlag, 2019) by ZANG Di; the Chinese translator of the Pulitzer Prize winning Be With and Twice Alive (East China Normal University Press, 2021, 2022) by Forrest GANDER as well as the German Book Prize winning Annette, ein Heldinnenepos (Jiangsu Phoenix Literature & Art Publishing, 2022) by Anne WEBER. His debut collection of original English poetry, The Orange Tree (The University of Chicago Press, 2023), is the inaugural winner of the Phoenix Emerging Poet Book Prize.

Zhang Yueran 张悦然 is one of China’s most influential writers of the post-80s generation. Her novel Cocoon 《繭》sold more than 120,000 copies in China and has been translated into several languages. In France it was nominated for the Best Foreign Book Prize 2019 and won the Best Asian Novel of the Prix Transfuge 2019. Zhang has been chief editor of Newwriting since 2008 and teaches literature and creative writing at Renmin University in China. She was chosen by Asymptote as one of 20 Sinophone writers under 40 to look out for. Cocoon was voted one of the New Yorker’s Best Books of 2022.

Wednesday August 30, 7pm

Film Screening: Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi 2007; Cannes Jury Prize).
CCT Theater

Introduction led by Ruohan Wang and Nino Nadirashvili.

In 1970s Iran, Marjane ‘Marji’ Satrapi watches events through her young eyes and her idealistic family of a long dream being fulfilled of the hated Shah’s defeat in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. However as Marji grows up, she witnesses first hand how the new Iran, now ruled by Islamic fundamentalists, has become a repressive tyranny on its own. With Marji dangerously refusing to remain silent at this injustice, her parents send her abroad to Vienna to study for a better life. However, this change proves an equally difficult trial with the young woman finding herself in a different culture loaded with abrasive characters and profound disappointments that deeply trouble her. Even when she returns home, Marji finds that both she and homeland have changed too much and the young woman and her loving family must decide where she truly belongs. (Summary courtesy of IMDB)

Thursday, August 31, 7pm

Film Screening: Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Doncelles 2019; Cannes Jury Prize).
CCT Theater

Introuduction led by Sue Wang and Rhayssa dos Santos.

Bacurau, a small settlement in Brazil’s remote backcountry, is shaken by the death of its elderly matriarch. But something strange is happening in the village, and there’s little time for mourning. The water supply has been cut off, animals are stampeding through the streets, and empty coffins are turning up on the roadside. One morning, the villagers wake up to find their home has disappeared from satellite maps completely. Under threat from an unknown enemy, Bacurau braces itself for a bloody, brutal fight for survival. (Summary courtesy of IMDB).

Friday, September 1

09:00-09:15 Opening Ceremony
James Miller, Co-Director of the Humanities Research Center
Carlos Rojas, Co-Director of the Humanities Research Center
Scott MacEachern, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

09:15-10:45 Joey Chin, Making the Known, Strange and Vice Versa

Chaired by Stephanie Anderson

Joey Chin’s early experiences with language emerge from bizarre folkloric remedies. When she was older, she found herself at the opposite end of the unexplainable: definitions for mother tongue, native speaker, first language. Fascinated by her experiences with language, she started to explore art and literature to investigate how the language we know can be strange, and how the strange can sometimes feel like home. Drawing from the works of Pu Songling, Xu Bing, Su Hui, and examples of her own work with poetry and art, Making the Known, Strange and Vice Versa is a talk about the relationships between language and people.

10:45-11:00 Coffee Break

11:00-12:00 Student Seminar with Joey Chin

11:00-12:00 Humanities Research Center Projects for 2023-2024

Chaired by Adrien Mbar  Pouille

Daniel Weissglass and Meifang Chen: Health Humanities Initiative
Megan Rogers and Jesse Olsavsky: Gender Studies Initiative
Ben Van Overmeire and James Miller: Religion from Outer Space
Nathan Hauthaler: Superdeep

12:00—14:00 Lunch

14:00-15:30 Zhang Yueran 张悦然, Reproduction and Echo 复影与回声

Chaired by Carlos Rojas


The speaker will incorporate her recent creative endeavors to delve into her thoughts on novels centered around relationships between two women. She will also explore why such novels are lacking in China and discuss the potential for their future development.

The keynote lecture will be delivered in Chinese, with English translation.

15:30-15:45 Coffee Break

15:45–16:45 Seminar with Zhang Yueran
The seminar will be conducted in Chinese.

15:45-16:45 Humanities Research Center Lab Presentations 

Chaired by Selina Lai-Henderson

Quinlan Bowman: Citizenship Lab
Jung Choi, Qingyang He and Hanxi Bao: Anthropocene XR Lab
Emily MacWilliams, Claudia Nisa and Yixuan Liu: CARE Lab
Seth Henderson and Kolleen Guy: Doc Lab

17:00-19:00 Student Film Screenings and Readings

Curated by Tianyu Zhang and Jade Jen.

Snacks and drinks will be provided.

Saturday, September 2

09:00-10:30 Dong Li 李栋, Translating Words Back into Tongues: The Travails and Happiness of the Translator 

Chaired by Caio Yurgel

Drawing on Sigmund Freud’s idea of work, the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur develops the double metaphor of “the work of mourning” and “the work of remembering” to define the ethical task of the translator as linguistic hospitality. In this talk, I will use my own work and experience as a multilingual poet and translator to test Ricoeur’s notion that touches on the dilemmas of loss/gain, equivalence/inadequacy, faithfulness/betrayal, and untranslatability/translatability. In favor of widening the approach of translation beyond these binary divisions, I hope to embrace the difference, diversity, and pleasure of multilingualism, varied versions, and omnifarious openness.

10:30-10:45 Coffee Break

10:45-11:45 Seminar with Dong Li

10:45-11:45 Juli Min, The Shanghai Literary Review and Creative Writing Workshop

Chaired by Stephanie Anderson

The Shanghai Literary Review is an annual journal of literature and art that Juli Min co-founded in 2016 in Shanghai, China. She has also served as the magazine’s fiction editor since its inception. TSLR is now published with the support of Duke Kunshan University’s Humanities Research Center.

12:00-14:00 lunch

14:00-15:30 Stacilee Ford, “When reading, honor what you can’t fully inhabit”: Diaspora, Memoir, History

Chaired by Selina Lai-Henderson

This keynote address argues for paying greater attention to the historical significance of Asian American and Asian Diasporic life writing. I begin with Fae Myenne Ng’s admonition (and the title for this talk) in her 2023 book, Orphan Bachelors: A Memoir, to read others’ lives with care. Next, I will place three generations of Asian American and Asian Diasporic memoir in conversation with theoretical insights from Rey Chow, Aihwa Ong, King Kok Cheung, Selina Lai-Henderson, and Lingzhen Wang. Wang asserts that autobiographical writing in all of its forms should be seen as a “practice – an active way of negotiating one’s life and identity in history.” My hope is that during our brief time together, listeners will consider how autobiographical practice recuperates forgotten pasts, illuminates our complex present, and challenges us to envision more abundant futures. As Wang says, “To emphasize practice is to relocate individual historical agency in the interactions among such forces as the cultural and social discourses; the politics of gender and self-representation; and the individual’s experience of life, emotion, and fantasy – while understanding that agency is both constructed and constructing.”As a new academic year begins, we pause to reflect on how we can all be more “care-full” readers and writers of lives, our own as well as those of others.

15:30-15:45 Coffee Break

15:45-16:45 Seminar with Stacilee Ford

15:45-17:00 Literature Reading

DKU students, faculty and guests will offer readings of their literary works.

17:15-18:15 Final Round Table and Closing Ceremony

Join DKU faculty and guests for a concluding discussion on the themes raised during the literary festival and for the closing ceremony and group photo.

18:30 Gala Dinner

All conference participants and attendees are warmly invited to a gala dinner. Advance registration is required.