Nan Da: Intransitive Transnationalisms


Location: Hesburgh Center C103

Da Profile3

What does it mean for transnationalism to stop at some point before the fullness of transmission, influence, and convergence? In this talk, Nan Da will give a unique history of nineteenth-century Sino-American transpacificism and use it to isolate a shift in the conceptualization of literature's agency across national borders, and offer up as parables the literary forms that traffick in non-transmissive encounter.


Nan Da's research and teaching interests are in nineteenth-century American literature and letters, Qing and early-Republic Chinese literature and letters, literary nationalism and transnationalism, narrative/genre/media theory, and theories of the book and its readers. 

Currently she is drawing on canonical and sub-canonical works from nineteenth-century America and China to formulate a hermeneutics of formality, and asking what might be gained if we see formality neither as meaningless social postures nor as traditional conservativisms but as ways of: having boundaries despite participating in history's unfolding or cultural sharing; deconstructing the ramifications of formalizing (or codifying) human contact; articulating the finitude of available forms of cross-cultural expression at any given moment; and excusing oneself in a quiet manner from certain kinds of empiricisms and historicisms. 

The Asia Working Group series is a collaboration with the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.