This essay problematizes East Asia with theory by simultaneously problematizing theory itself. In such understanding, theory by nature is self-reflexive and self-contesting, ceaselessly questioning the legitimacy of established rules. Since theory remains the bearer of questions to all things it encounters (including itself), any attempt to provincialize theory (as European or as Asian), or to claim ownership over it with a national, racial, or civilizational identity would not be possible because theory is something other than itself and intrinsically aporetic. This paper takes the case of theory exchange in East Asia of the 1920s-30s in relation to the proletarian arts movement by looking at how the very meaning of "proletariat" is grasped in order to understand the contested nature of theory.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Literature and Literary Theory
- East Asia
- Proletarian arts movement