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Seminar: A Floating Sense of Selves: Kikou Yamata's Mediation of Japan
Date: 5 May 2010 

You are cordially invited to attend the following talk as part of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures Seminar Series

A Floating Sense of Selves: Kikou Yamata's Mediation of Japan

Dr Denis C. Meyer

Date: 5 May 2010 (Wednesday)
Time: 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Venue: Convocation Room, Main Building

Born in Lyon to a French mother and a Japanese diplomat, Kikou Yamata (1897-1975) has authored a substantial number of texts in diverse genres, some written in Japanese, the majority in French. This talk undertakes to read Yamata's literary legacy from three standpoints: her role as a cultural mediator; her position as a woman writer and her subsequent reappraisal of the reified Oriental femininity and, finally, her coming to terms with her French-Japanese identity. These three standpoints are, in fact, closely intertwined, for they all converge towards various types of othernesses: woman as sexual other, Japan as topographical other and hybridity as racial other. We shall therefore attempt to ascertain the extent to which Yamata's writings may convey an innovative perspective on the long-standing East-West politics of othering and its inferred motifs at work in literary fiction and elsewhere. Also, we shall investigate the theme of floating self in Yamata's writings, with a view to assessing its potential to break free from the dialectics of hegemony and alienation subsumed in the traditional East-West representation.

About the speaker:
Dr Denis C. Meyer has taught at the University of Hong Kong since 1989. He is Director of the French programme and a Deputy Head in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. He was born and educated in Paris, France, where he graduated in Comparative Literature. His doctoral thesis focused on the Far East representation in Western literary works and travel narratives. His present research and teaching areas comprise the political and cultural history of France, modern French literature, cultural mediation and representation and the didactics of French language and culture. His recent publications include the two following books (in French): A Floating World: Kikou Yamata's Cultural Mediation of Japan, Paris, L'Harmattan, 2009; and Keys to France in 80 Cultural Icons, Paris, Hachette, 2010.

All are welcome. No registration is required.

For enquiries, please contact Dr Marie Berne,

Please note that the last talk in the current Seminar Series will be:
May 19 (Wed), 4.30-6 PM, Main Building Convocation Room
Mercedes Vazquez Vazquez (Spanish Programme)
"Politics of Realism in Contemporary Venezuelan Filmmaking"

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