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Nayoung A. Kwon, Associate Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Nayoung A. Kwon

Nayoung Aimee Kwon (권나영 クォン ナヨン エイミー) is an award-winning multilingual author and a professor in Duke University's Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies; Program in Cinematic Arts; and Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. She is the Founding Director of Duke's Asian American & Diaspora Studies Program and co-founded the Andrew Mellon Games & Culture Humanities Lab, both in 2018. She served as the Founding Director of Duke Engage Koreas in 2014 and co-directs this global service learning program based in Durham and Seoul working with refugee and migrant communities from around the world. 

Interdisciplinary research expertise include literary criticism and translation studies; film and media studies; post/colonial history and theory; gender and sexuality studies, focusing on comparative colonial legacies in global Asian, inter-Asian and transpacific—Asia/Americas—historic and cultural encounters. Current research examines the contested politics of cultural memories across colonial and cold war violence and their lasting generational trauma in Asia and across the Asia-Pacific.  Select publications include Intimate Empire (Duke University Press, Korean translation from Somyŏng Press, Japanese translation from Jinbun Shobo, Russian translation forthcoming), Theorizing Colonial Cinema (in collaboration with philosopher Takushi Odagiri and film scholar Moonim Baek, Indiana University Press, Korean translation forthcoming), Antinomies of the Colonial Archive (in collaboration with historian Takashi Fujitani) and essays in Modern Fiction StudiesJournal of Asian Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Social Text, Sanghŏ Hakpo, Cross-Currents, and various anthologies and collected volumes. With collaborators at the University of Netherlands, the Hague, and elsewhere, she is a developer of hybrid platform infinite strategy games (ISG) about historical conflicts. Her work has been recognized globally by multiple Fulbright grants, National Endowment for the Humanities, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Korea Foundation, Japan Foundation, Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies, Korean Literature Translation Institute, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University Office of the Provost, Duke University Arts & Sciences Council, among others. She works in five languages and is a translator of literature and manhwa/manga from Korean and Japanese into English. She was a poetry editor in New York before entering academia and holds a PhD from UCLA and BA from Duke University.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  2204 Erwin Road Room 209, Box 90414, Durham, NC 27708
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Fall 2024):

  • AMES 171.01, WORLD OF KOREAN CINEMA Synopsis
    Class Bldg 135, Th 04:40 PM-05:55 PM; Class Bldg 135, Tu 04:40 PM-07:10 PM
    (also cross-listed as CINE 256.01, CULANTH 255.01, LIT 212.01, VMS 234.01)
  • AMES 490S.01, SPECIAL TOPICS Synopsis
    Perkins 072, Th 11:45 AM-02:15 PM
    (also cross-listed as AADS 490S.01, ARTHIST 490S.02, CINE 490S.02, CULANTH 490S.02, GSF 490S.02)
    Perkins 072, Th 11:45 AM-02:15 PM
    (also cross-listed as AADS 609S.01, ARTHIST 609S.01, CINE 609S.01, CULANTH 609S.01, GSF 609S.01)
Office Hours:

Thursday 2:30-4:30

Research Interests:

Nayoung Aimee Kwon is Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Korean and Japanese Cultural Studies in the Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Women's Studies and the Program in the Art of the Moving Image. She is currently working on her book manuscript Translating Empire: the Conundrum of Collaboration in Korea and Japan (forthcoming from Duke University Press) which examines the broader problem of colonial modern and postcolonial contestations in East Asia. This issue is examined through interactions of Japanese and Korean writers and translators in the Japanese empire and their controversial postcolonial legacies. Her research and teaching interests include transcultural co-productions (literature, film, theater) between Korea and Japan; Korean and Japanese literary and filmic exchanges; theories of empire, translation, and postcoloniality; globalization and transpacific migrations and cultural flows between Asia and America. She is also a translator of Korean and Japanese literatures into English.

Areas of Interest:

Empire Studies
Korean Literature and Film
Japanese Literature and Film
Postcolonial Studies
Translation Studies
Transpacific Asian/American Studies

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Kwon, NA, A MINOR MODERNIST’S CONUNDRUM OF REPRESENTATION: Kim Saryang and the Colonized I-Novel, in The Routledge Companion to Korean Literature (January, 2022), pp. 245-256, ISBN 9780367348496 [doi]  [abs]
  2. Kwon, NA, Theorizing Colonial Cinema: Reframing Production, Circulation, and Consumption of Film in Asia, edited by Kwon, N (2021), Indiana University Press
  3. Kwon, NA, The Figure of the Translator, in Routledge Handbook of Modern Korean Literature (March, 2020), Routledge, ISBN 9781317224136  [abs]
  4. Kwon, NA, The figure of the translator: Kim Saryang between Korean and Japanese literatures, in Routledge Handbook of Modern Korean Literature (January, 2020), pp. 215-224, ISBN 9781138655041 [doi]  [abs]
  5. Kwon, NA, Ch'inmilhan Cheguk (2020), Somyong Press, ISBN 9791159054938 (translated by Kim, J-G; In, A; Chong, K-I.)

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