Book Talk: Minor Transpacific: Triangulating American, Japanese, and Korean Fictions

When and Where

Friday, March 03, 2023 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Room 100A
Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George Street, Toronto.


David S. Roh (author) Professor of English, University of Utah
Chair: Janet Poole Chair and Associate Professor of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto


There is a tendency to think of Korean American literature—and Asian American literature writ large—as a field of study involving only two spaces, the United States and Korea, with the same being true in Asian studies of Korean Japanese (Zainichi) literature involving only Japan and Korea. This book posits that both fields have to account for three spaces: Korean American literature has to grapple with the legacy of Japanese imperialism in the United States, and Zainichi literature must account for American interventions in Japan. Comparing Korean American authors such as Younghill Kang, Chang-rae Lee, Ronyoung Kim, and Min Jin Lee with Zainichi authors such as Kaneshiro Kazuki, Yi Yang-ji, and Kim Masumi, Minor Transpacific uncovers their hidden dialogue and imperial concordances, revealing the trajectory and impact of both bodies of work. 

Minor Transpacific bridges the fields of Asian studies and Asian American studies to unveil new connections between Zainichi and Korean American literatures. Working in Japanese and English, David S. Roh builds a theoretical framework for articulating those moments of contact between minority literatures in a third national space and proposes a new way of conceptualizing Asian American literature.

David S. Roh is Professor of English at the University of Utah, where he specializes in Asian American literature and Digital Humanities.  He is the author of Minor Transpacific (Stanford University Press, 2021), Illegal Literature (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), and coeditor of Techno-Orientalism (Rutgers University Press, 2015). His work has appeared in Law & Literature, Journal of Narrative Theory, MELUS, Verge, and Digital Humanities Quarterly.  He is currently at work on Techno-Orientalism, Vol. II.

Organized by the Centre for the Study of Korea and co-sponsored by the Department of English, Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies, Department of East Asian Studies, the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies, the Centre for the Study of the United States, University of Toronto.