Abstract As an international faculty member at a liberal arts college in Seoul, teaching and “doing” comparative literature continues to unfold as a series of open-ended learning experiences. The most fundamental lesson, which seems both epistemological and ethical in nature, has been a pragmatic one: the importance of engaging the many institutional, pedagogic, and scholarly tensions arising in this emergent educational context. In the literature classroom, more specifically, this has taken the form of being attentive to the borders of text and context. Because most Korean students have been trained to read literature contextually, often in terms of preexisting national narratives, learning close literary reading can be a considerable challenge for them. Reading with borders enables students to register the epistemological frames that, heretofore, have limited, defined, and facilitated their knowledge. In crossing borders, we should strive to be as reflective and explicit as possible about what knowledge and relations these borders both preclude and enable. Such an awareness, gleaned in no small part from pedagogic practice, also informs my ongoing scholarly engagement with Korean modernism and the disciplinary tensions between area studies and comparative or world literature.
Kelly S. Walsh
New Global Studies