Type / Thesis

The Pedagogical Role of the Literary Text: Comfort Woman from a Global Perspective

So-Hee Lee

Page / 99-110


While the pedagogy of Asian American Studies in the USA mainly aspires to “the making of Asian Americanists out of a heterogeneous array of students,” I think that we, teaching in an East Asian context, should be very self-conscious about selecting the literary texts for Asian American Studies. Nora Okja Keller’s Comfort Woman is one of the best literary texts to practice the “gestalt” space in terms of reading multi-ethnic and multi-cultural literature. Not only the role of the text but the role of the lecturer have had an important influence on the students’ experiencing empathy and sympathy with the text Comfort Woman. The novel works at different levels for readers who are differently informed about Korean culture. At this time, “How to do it” depends on the lecturer’s personal teaching experience, method, and skill in the specific cultural context.
Teaching experience can be an effective starting point for the production of knowledge by bringing the East Asian experience into American literary scenes. The literary text Comfort Woman could be considered as one of the best examples of how we, as Asian Americanists in East Asia, attempt to utilize our advantageous position with its bicultural and bilingual background. Therefore, we need sharp sensitivity to be able to read each student’s emotional transformation and the wider knowledge related to a specific text such as Comfort Woman, because it is one of the most valuable attempts to highlight our geopolitical locations in critical practice.

Keywords : pedagogy, gestalt, empathy, sympathy, teaching experience, geopolitical location, knowledge production, Comfort Woman
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