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David Roh

Title: Professor
College: Humanities
School / Department: English
Mentoring Philosophy:

My research interests fall under several areas–namely, digital humanities, law and literature, and transnational studies.

My first book, titled Illegal Literature: Toward a Disruptive Creativity (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), argues that the cultural logic of intertextual dialogism has been the dominant mode of collaborative creativity that has only recently been stifled due to modern concepts of hierarchical intellectual property laws. This project investigates how that tiered structuring has become destabilized with a shift towards non-hierarchical communications technology architecture, which has brought an marked increase in “extralegal” creativity in recent years, both online and offline. I show through readings of recent literary court cases, non-hierarchical narratives, and amateur fan culture, the cultural return to a richer form of discursive creativity. A chapter appears in Law & Literature.

I’m also co-editor of Techno-Orientalism: Imagining Asia in Speculative Fiction, History, and Media (Rutgers University Press, 2015). This project makes a significant contribution to the emerging field of techno-Orientalism in speculative fiction and alternative media that has been in development over the past two decades.  With a focus on the conflation of Asian and Asian American bodies, sites, and spaces in speculative fictional visions of a technologized future, this volume aims to solidify and canonize the field via a range of multi-disciplinary approaches to critically assess the implications of an ever-expanding techno-Orientalist vocabulary in the age of Asian socio-economic ascendancy.  The assemblage of established and emergent scholars of Orientalisms old and new in the volume reflects the group’s recognition of the urgent salience of techno-Orientalist studies.

Another book project, reflective of my varied interests, bridges two fields in investigating Korean American and Korean Japanese (zainichi) writers. Tentatively titled Minor Transpacific (under contract, Stanford University Press), it posits that early Korean American writers were haunted by the specter of imperial Japan in their journey towards Asian American subjectivity. At the same time, Zainichi writers in Japan, dealing with a different set of political and ethnic anxieties, looked at Korean American writers in their construction of ethnic Japanese literature. Both nations function as mediating spaces engaged in a transnational conversation. An excerpt was published by MELUS (2012); and another chapter appears in Verge (2016).