A Professor with Global Reach Joins the UA Department of English

Duncan Yoon
Dr. Duncan Yoon

Dr. Duncan Yoon came to Department of English in 2015. He holds an MA from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UCLA. He also serves as the co-director of the Global South Cultural Dialogue Project. Dr. Yoon specializes in Africa and China cultural relations, the Cold War postcolonialism world, and world literature.

Tell me about your areas of expertise.

As an undergraduate, I majored in English and French, and so I was interested in writing that had a comparative focus. Initially. I was interested in the connections between British Romanticism and French symbolism. Then, I took a seminar on African and Afro-Caribbean literature and really liked it. After graduation, I did a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to South Korea and started learning Korean. In South Korea, I saw so many Chinese characters in writing that I was inspired to learn Mandarin. I continued studying Mandarin at Dartmouth and UCLA. I wanted my research have a global and comparative focus so I could study ideas and aesthetic movements across national and linguistic lines.

Is there a subject about which you are particularly passionate?

I am really passionate about bringing together digital pedagogy and digital scholarship with the humanities and postcolonial studies.

What is the aim of the Global South Cultural Dialogue Project?

The Global South Cultural Dialogue Project (GSCDP) brings scholars and writers from all over the world (Africa, Latin America, Asia, as well as the West) to explore how different societies have responded to questions of language, identity, and culture in eras of globalization. We have honest discussions about transnational connections that help us imagine a more democratic and egalitarian global culture.

How has your involvement in this project influenced your research?

The GSP has given me a group of people with whom to collaborate. We have edited journal editions and are planning conference panels and workshops. Having a community of scholars and writers who are interested in global literary cultures has really helped me refine the scope of my research. I’m currently working on a postcolonial book project beginning with the Afro-Asian Conference in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955. My goal is to explore postcolonial history from a nonwestern perspective.

Tell me about your research opportunities at UA.

UA is a great place to teach and do research. I’m quite excited about everything the Department has been doing, and I love having another postcolonial scholar, Cajetan Iheka, here. The Alabama Digital Humanities Center (ADHC) has also been a great resource as I think about the relationship between literature and digital technologies.

What have you found most rewarding about teaching here at UA?

Everyone in the Department has been so supportive and welcoming—I guess that’s what they mean by Southern hospitality!