Statement about Candidacy for Forum Executive Committee

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    Emily Sun

    I am glad to have been nominated to serve on this Forum’s Executive Committee.  Please find my brief statement below.

    I am Associate Professor in the Program in Comparative Literature and Translation Studies at Barnard College, having taught previously in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and in the English departments of the College of the Holy Cross, Colgate University, and Kenyon College.  I received my doctorate in comparative literature at Yale University in 2003.  My scholarship has focused primarily on British and European Romanticism, with my recent book extending the reach of my work to cross-cultural literary relations between China and the West.  On the Horizon of World Literature: Forms of Modernity in Romantic England and Republican China (Fordham University Press, 2021), compares literary texts from the two asynchronous periods of incipient literary modernity featured in the subtitle.  It shows how these moments were oriented alike by “world literature” as a discursive framework of classifications that connected and re-organized local articulations of literary histories and literary modernities over the course of the long nineteenth century, and it argues that world literature thus provided–and continues to provide–a condition of possibility for conversation between cultures as well as for their mutual provincialization.  Bringing to light the disciplinary-historical impact world literature has had in shaping literary traditions and practices around the world, this book renews the practice of close reading by offering the model of a de-provincialized close reading loosened from confinement within monocultural hermeneutic circles.  I am the author of a previous monograph, Succeeding King Lear: Literature, Exposure, and the Possibility of Politics (Fordham UP, 2010) and a co-editor of The Claims of Literature: A Shoshana Felman Reader (Fordham UP, 2007).  I have published journal articles and book chapters on topics in British Romanticism, modern American literature and photography, and modern Chinese literature and literary translation.  With Emily Rohrbach, I co-edited a special issue in 2011 of Studies in Romanticism titled “Reading Keats, Thinking Politics.”

    I am a long-time member of the MLA as well as the American Comparative Literature Association and the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism.  I serve also on the Board of Directors of the Keats-Shelley Association of America and on the editorial boards of the Yearbook of Comparative Literature, based at Indiana University-Bloomington, and the Wenshan Review of Literature and Culture, based at National Cheng Chi University in Taiwan.

    I would welcome the opportunity to work with colleagues in the “Forum on Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies: Romantic and 19th Century” in developing future MLA panels on comparative work in Romanticism and the 19th century and in encouraging bold, capacious, and rigorous interdisciplinary scholarship in these fields.

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