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Korean Englishes, Uneven Asias, and Global Circulation, 1895-1945

Woo, Hyo Kyung (2016) Korean Englishes, Uneven Asias, and Global Circulation, 1895-1945. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation investigates the role of English as a global mediatory language and English literature as a global reading material for a group of Korean writers during the Japanese colonization of Korea, roughly from 1895 to 1945. The primary argument of this dissertation is that Korean intellectuals of the colonial period appropriated the privilege accorded to the English language, and to Anglophone literature, as an anti-colonial tool against the Japanese rule, incorporating their anti-colonial aspirations into their own Anglophone literary practices.
First, “Korean Englishes” traces the complex and unexplored local history of English and its intersection with other local languages under Japanese colonial rule. Colonial Korea was a symbolic translingual zone. English, a secondary but global language, was positioned within the multivalent linguistic conflicts: English, as a language of modernity, gradually subverted the dominance of classical Chinese, the learned language of pre-modern Korea, while disturbing the new imperial imposition of Japanese language education in Korea. These four languages, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English, were all in contact and conflict in multi-sited ways. As a result of this positioning, the political power of English provided Koreans with a voice situated within multiple colonial legacies.
Second, “Korean Englishes” examines the local reception and production of English literature and how Korean writers borrowed the cultural capital of English-language literature for their own literary practices. During the Japanese colonial era, Korean writers indirectly translated a variety of English literary works, from Victorian sensational fictions to the poetry of Yeats, via Japanese translations, and produced their Anglophone writings. These translators and writers constantly discovered and created new meanings of the texts and utilized their interpretations as a resources for the self-expression of the colonized, at a time when their own language and literature were censored under Japanese colonial policies. By examining English-based, anti-colonial linguistic and literary practices in colonial Korea, this project argues that Korean Englishes were a product of the triangular interplay between the local, the regional, and the global, changing existing postcolonial studies’ perception of English.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Woo, Hyo Kyunghyw4@pitt.eduHYW4
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRogers, Gaylegrogers@pitt.eduGROGERS
Committee MemberArac, Jonathanjarac@pitt.eduJARAC
Committee MemberPuri, Shalinispuri@pitt.eduSPURI
Committee MemberYang, Yun
Date: 3 October 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 July 2016
Approval Date: 3 October 2016
Submission Date: 5 August 2016
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 194
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Englishes, colonial Korea, translation, English literature in Korea, global circulation, world literature
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2016 20:42
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2021 05:15


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