Events: Kritika Kultura Lecture Series presents Maria Luisa Torres Reyes

October 12, 2016

Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University, in partnership with the Ateneo Korean Studies Program and the Korean Cultural Center, will host a lecture by Maria Luisa Torres Reyes titled “Refunctioning a Classical Genre: Han in Punch.” The lecture is part of the Window on Korea Cultural Event on Oct. 13, 2016. Dr. Reyes’s lecture is from 1:15 p.m. to 1:40 p.m., at Leong Hall Auditorium, Ateneo de Manila University. The lecture is open to the public.

Reyes’s abstract reads: “The topic of the lecture is the first part of a larger project which suggests that in the process of refunctioning, non-Western texts like Punch (a Korean sleeper hit in 2011) disrupts the developmental and integrative logic of the Bildungsroman (novel of formation, novel of education, or coming-of-age story) which resonates with the trajectory of the multicultural project of monocultural South Korea today. In particular, the lecture focuses on how forms, even those traditionally called ‘universal’ and ‘generic’ in the West like the Bildungsroman are at once ‘local,’ and ‘specific’—that is to say, culturally, socially, and historically situated, of which the ‘form’ or ‘genre’ itself is a material inscription and iteration. In Punch, Bildungsroman becomes a site of negotiation between ‘universal’ genre and ‘local’ affect in which the structure, as a function of the film’s narrative economy, is underpinned by the Korean han—a kind of ethos which is historically associated with a gamut of ‘emotions’ including a deep and dark sorrow, spite rancor, regret, resentment, grief, utmost suffering, injustice or persecution that quietly longs for affection, harmony or resolution (jeong). While the classical Western Bildungsroman generally follows a ‘classical’ plot tracing the formation of the individual ‘realistically’ through the protagonist's journey, Punch follows an ‘affective’ logic in what may be referred to as a ‘han narrative’ which is neither pure form nor pure content—an episodic sequence of scenes which dramatize individual and collective hans within the han structure. As in the case of Punch, a classical genre from the West is reworked and transformed through a dynamic tension of complex fields of forces in the process of refunctioning through generic transcoding of porous translocalities, which the next part of the project hopes to establish.”

Maria Luisa Torres Reyes is Full Professor at the Ateneo de Manila University where she is currently Research Fellow. She is a scholar, critic, translator, creative writer, founding editor and Editor Emeritus of Kritika Kultura. She is the author of the book of literary criticism on the first socialist novel in Asia, Banaag at Sikat by Lope K. Santos which traces 100 years of its reception, which won the best in literary criticism awarded by the National Book Award in 2011. She is also the author of other books, among which are her collection of published poems, Sipat Salin, which were translated in various foreign and local languages (2012), and a translation of The February Revolution by Letizia R. Constantino/Renato Constantino, which won the Manila Critics Circle Award in 1987. Her scholarly interests include the dynamics of engagement and development of critical categories from the West and their deployment in non-Western contexts, especially in Asia. In this regard, she has been published internationally for her exploration of the ways the theories of Bertolt Brecht, a major theatre theoretician and practitioner, have been refunctioned in the Philippines.

Kritika Kultura is acknowledged by a host of Asian and Asian American Studies libraries and scholars networks, and indexed in the MLA International Bibliography, Thomson Reuters (ISI), Scopus, EBSCO, and the Directory of Open Access Journals. For inquiries about submission guidelines and future events, visit or email

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