The Japanese Studies Program is happy to welcome Dr. Huang-wen Lai!
Dr. Lai is a specialist in Japanese colonial literature and cinema–that is, works about the areas colonized by Japan before and during World War II (or, the Pacific War), including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, and Okinawa, written in Japanese by both Japanese and local authors. Dr. Lai received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016 and his M.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2007. He also spent several years studying and teaching at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before coming to the U.S., he earned his B.A. and his first M.A. in Japanese Literature from Fu-Jen Catholic University in Taiwan.
Dr. Lai’s current research sheds light on the role of in-betweenness in Japanese colonial literature and culture. His book project, “Traveling Abroad, Writing Nationalism, and Performing in Disguise: People on the Japanese Colonial Boundary, 1909-1943,” investigates the relations and discourses among “in-between” people who were caught on the colonial boundaries under Japanese rule. He is also very interested in intercultural studies between China and Japan, and between the East and the West. His second research project looks at links between literature and cinema in Japan and China, and how cinematic adaptations shed light on social, political and literary transformations in East Asia from the 1930s to the present.
At William & Mary, Dr. Lai will be teaching several courses for the 2017-18 school year, including Classical Japanese, Contemporary Japanese Literature, and a course on his specialty, titled “Writing Empire.” Please say hello when you see him!