Against the Monopoly/Monology of ‘Literature’ in the Pedagogy of Comparative Literature: Cultural Studies other than Multiculturalism

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Soo – Young Nam


This paper questions the status of cultural studies as a new field of comparative literature. Literary studies centered on European culture, seem to have adapted to modern times, from postcolonial discourse to the cultural discourse. From this perspective multiculturalism appears to be the answer in the end. But I would argue that it is another form of ‘literature’ study, as it follows the same classification of literature of nations and ethnicities. Emily Apter once pointed out the ambivalent vigilance of post – colonial researchers toward new cultural discourses, to explain why comparative literature with histories of exile should reach out to the solidarity of multiculturalism as evidence of openness to newcomers(i.e. the cultural studies) in the field. Yet, recent cultural studies such as film/media studies are not new disciplines that can only be entered in the field as a beneficiary of solidarity. The study of media may have started late in academia, but it is the study of the sensorial experiences which far precede letter – based literary culture. In addition, media studies examines the way in which the real can still be traced within this symbolic culture of writing and letter. 

In addition, technological discourse centered on the media will possibly lead the 21st century education in which humans, machines, nature, and animals coexist with a new identity and species. Instead of being a tool to teach literature and identity politics of the same past, film/media studies allow us to imagine life and existence outside of national, ethnic, language & national literature, that is, in a direction that liberates us all.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Pedagogy of Comparative literature: Re – Imagining Literatures of the World