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Tag: Literature

American Literature & Creative Writing in Taiwan

Introduction      I had the pleasure to serve as a Visiting Professor in the Foreign Languages and Literature Department at Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan, 2015-2016. I taught undergraduate and graduate classes in creative writing and American literature, with a special focus on Asian American literature.       My teaching in fall 2015 was rewarding, but also challenging. I did not keep a formal teaching log that term. In the hopes of becoming an increasingly effective classroom teacher, I committed to keeping a teaching log in spring 2016. After every class session, I typed up a short entry on what happened in the class that day—the texts we discussed, the strong points in discussion, what worked or didn’t work, areas for improvement, and so on. My primary aim was to reflect on how to work most effectively with East Asian students who are second language learners and, in many cases, largely unfamiliar with more nuanced aspects of U.S. history, culture, and society. While edited for length and clarity, I tried to keep these reflections as unvarnished and “fresh” as possible, hopefully conveying a sense of my experience. Please note that this essay was submitted before the end of the

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A Midyear Reflection on the State of my Research

     I do a lot of reading; it’s part of my job description as a graduate student. I read all types of works: newspaper articles, opinion pieces, scientific data, political diatribe, etc. I also read quite a bit of Chinese literature and modern scholarship on such works. Recently, it occurred to me that I have lost, to some degree at least, my love of reading for pleasure, especially reading works of fiction. I tend to get lost in critical works, the argumentative polemics and rhetorical strategies of academic work published in scholarly periodicals, but I realized that I rarely, if ever, spend significant time reading fiction anymore. This is disconcerting, disturbing even, because not all reading is the same; different genres can produce wildly different effects.      For example, exploring the universes of the future plotted out by science fiction writers or contemplating the power of language in historical settings recreated by dramatists shows the infinite possible worlds existing when authors indulge in fictive landscapes. Fictional works simultaneously reflect a multiplicity of voices and viewpoints in a way that other artistic mediums seem hard-pressed to duplicate. The way authors choose to arrange their plots, create characters, and manipulate

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Children’s Literature Ambassadors: Advocates of the 1960s: Munro Leaf and Helen R. Sattley

     This research period, so far, has been a fruitful one, thanks to the generous support of the Fulbright Taiwan Foundation for Scholarly Exchange. My current research project was launched when my curiosity was triggered by an unpremeditated encounter, as I was reading a historical sketch of the development of children’s literature in Taiwan, with two legendary figures who appear to be the earliest, or first, “ambassadors of children’s literature” from the United States and who introduced new concepts and visions of literature for children and young adults to Taiwanese audiences in the 1960s. This is the height of the Cold War era, but I follow Christina Klein’s view in Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961, that the Cold War is to be understood not so much a limited chapter of cultural containment as a critical phase of globalization. This means that the Cold War (and its related discourses, ideologies, and the like), in effect, generated various aspects and copious practices of cultural exchanges and crossings. One such practice is the transcultural formation and institutionalization of children’s literature in postwar Taiwan.           In 1964, with the sponsorship of The United Nations Children’s Fund,

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