This research group is made up of comparative specialists in the fields of Hong Kong culture, Diaspora literature, Chinese culture, Western literature, and Latin American studies. Combining our specific interests, we propose a research group that focuses on the interrelationships between canonicity and the subaltern, including related topics in translation.
Although the study of mainstream, or tangible cultural productions will always be a valid undertaking, our group would like to focus on writers, filmmakers, and cultural theorists that have been marginalized by their very nature of otherness. In the 1980s and 1990s, first in India and then in Latin America, subaltern studies were introduced to address the emergence of specific and local non-elite 'borderline' cultures, and we find this a useful approach to those literatures and films that exist outside the established canon.
Subaltern studies has been part of post-colonialism, and it lends itself well to specific localized contextualization and therefore to a more critically oriented study of issues involving canonicity and marginalization in various places. Ours is not meant to be an apotropaic exercise, but rather an attempt at critically reflecting upon the richness and diversity of cultural productions beyond the generally accepted canon, and to highlight the complexity involved in such research and thinking. Rather than isolate groups in our research, we would like to look at the dynamics that are at play in defining both canonicity and marginalization.
More specifically, special attention will be paid to post-colonial Hong Kong literature written in English (Dr. Sheung), post-colonial documentary film in Hong Kong (Dr. Lee), Diaspora literature (Ms. Liu), and Chinese minority literature (Dr. Linder). This research is structured upon the common foundational framework of subaltern theories (Dr. Kong) and other interdisciplinary comparative perspectives.
It is our dream to sow the seeds of a subaltern studies group the way it was done in India in the 1980s and Latin America in the 1990s, not to develop a whole new theory, but to generate a new academic discussion about subaltern subjects from this side of the world.
Page last updated: 24 October 2008