Research Expertise and Interest
Korean literature and culture
Kevin Michael Smith is an assistant professor in East Asian Languages & Culture who specializes in Korean literature and culture with emphasis on poetry and poetics. Their scholarly practice is concerned broadly with aesthetics and politics in colonial Korea and its aftermath, pursuing questions of uneven development, literary form, and periodization comparatively across East Asia and Euro-America, with theoretical influences including Western Marxism, posthumanism, and psychoanalysis.
Dr. Smith has published articles on Korean and Japanese modernist poetry, painting, and photography as well as translations of various works by modern and contemporary Korean and Japanese poets. They are currently completing their first book manuscript, Shuddering Century: Modernist Poetry in Colonial Korea and the Poetics of Belatedness, which examines the uneven and accelerated reception of the avant-gardes by Korean poets in the 1920s and ‘30s as they simultaneously navigated problems of both poetic composition and spatiohistorical difference. An offshoot of this project, Dr. Smith is also researching the ideological (re)orientation of Hegelian-Marxist philosopher Sin Nam-ch'ŏl (1903-??) whose comparative reflections on Western and Eastern thought transitioned across the 1930s from a basis in historical materialism to a pan-Asianism compatible with imperial Japan's militarist ambitions.
“Romanticism Strait: Coloniality and Liminality in Im Hwa’s Maritime Poetry,” Journal of Korean Studies, issue 28, no. 2, March 2023.
“The Promise of Unhappiness: Colonial Korea and Yi Si-u’s Surrealist Poetics,” positions: asia critique, vol. 30, issue 4, November 2022, pp. 653-78.
“Shuddering Century: Futurist Poetry, Colonial Korea, and Industrial Warfare,” Modernism/modernity, vol. 5, cycle 1, May 2020.
“Images under Construction: Photomontage in Interwar Europe and Japan,” Trans Asia Photography Review, vol. 9, issue 2: Circulation, Spring 2019.
“Japanese ‘Modernism at a Branch Point’: On the Museum of Modern Art, Hayama’s 1937 Exhibition,” Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review, no. 26, March 2018, pp. 42-77.
"Vicarious Politics: Violence and the Colonial Period in Contemporary South Korean Film," Asia-Pacific Journal, vol. 15, issue 12, no. 3, 2017.