Travis Workman

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Asian & Middle Eastern Studies .
220 Folwell Hall

  • Asian & Middle Eastern Studies
  • Graduate Faculty, Asian Literatures, Cultures, and Media; Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society; Comparative Literature
Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: East Asian Literature, Cornell University.


  • Korean and Japanese literature, film, and intellectual history; state violence and historical memory; film melodrama; nationalism; humanism and its critiques; translation
Courses Taught
  • ALL 3536 Modern Korean Literature
  • ALL 3556 Korean Film and Media
  • ALL 3586 Cold War Cultures in Korea
  • ALL 8001 Critical Approaches to Asian Literary and Cultural Studies. Topics: The Colonial Construction of Asia and the West; Nationalism, Transnationalism, and Translation
  • ALL 8002 Space and Modernity in Asia
  • ALL 8920 Kant in Asia: The Politics of German Idealism
Research & Professional Activities


  • Humanism, Empire, and Nation: Korean Literary and Cultural Criticism: A book of translated essays.
  • Political Moods: Melodrama and the Cold War in Korean Film: A monograph on the politics of mood in colonial, South, and North Korean film melodrama.
  • “The Colonial Frontier: Migration, Bordering, and Primitive Accumulation in Kando Literature.” In Routledge Handbook of Modern Korean Literature, edited by Yoon Sun Yang. London: Routledge, 2020.
  • "A Minor Philosophy of World: From the Anthropological Illusion to Relation in Area Studies." Cultural Dynamics (February-May 2020).
  • "Visual Regimes of Juche Ideology in North Korea's The Country I Saw." In Oxford Handbook of Communist Visual Cultures, edited by Aga Skrodzka, Xiaoning Lu, and Katarzyna Marciniak. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.
  • "Piagol (1955): Realism and Melodrama in the Anticommunist Film." In Rediscovering Korean Cinema, edited by Sangjoon Lee. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2019.
  • Workman, Travis James (2016). Imperial Genus: The Formation and Limits of the Human in Modern Korea and Japan. University of California Press. Link
  • "The Perils of Comparison in Subaltern Studies and its Critique." A review of Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital by Vivek Chibber and surrounding debates. Cultural Critique no. 94 (Fall 2016): 156-172.
  • "Parodies of Realism at the Margins of Science Fiction: Sin Sang-ok's Pulgasari and Jang Jun-hwan's Save the Green Planet." In Simultaneous Worlds: Global Science Fiction Cinema, edited by Jennifer Feeley and Sarah Wells. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015.
  • "Narrating and Aestheticizing Liberation in Hurrah! for Freedom and My Home Village." Review of Korean Studies 18, no. 1 (June 2015): 77-102.
  • “Other Scenes: Space and Counterpoint in Cold War Korean Melodrama.”The Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema 7, no. 1 (May 2015): 28-40.
  • "Stepping into the Newsreel: Melodrama and Mobilization in Colonial Korean Film." Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review 3, no. 1 (May 2014): 153-184.
  • "The Partisan, the Worker, and the Hidden Hero: Popular Icons in North Korean Film." The Korean Popular Culture Reader, edited by Kyung Hyun Kim and Youngmin Choe, 145-167. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014.
  • "Sŏ In-sik's Communism and the East Asian Community." positions: asia critique 21, no. 1 (Winter 2013): 133-160.
  • "Locating Translation: On the Question of Japanophone Literature." PMLA 126, no. 3 (May 2011): 701-708.
  • Talle Faculty Research Award, 2017 - 2019
  • McKnight Land-Grant Professorship, 2014 - 2016