“Great Effort of Yours”: the Poetics of Failing Toward an Uncertain Future

Speaker: Jenn Marie Nunes
Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, The Ohio State University, USA
Moderator: Naifei, Ding
Professor, English Department, NCU
Member, Center for the Study of Sexulities, NCU
Time: 10:00-11:30, June 8th, 2023 (Taipei, UTC+8)

This talk will offer a meditative overview of my time in Taiwan on Fulbright-Hays, where I undertook ethnographic research with migrant worker women. My proposal is that through a more embodied understanding of the materiality of their lives, I will ultimately be able to read and translate poetry written by migrant worker women with fuller attention to both the particular ways in which they speak their own experiences—real and imaginary—on the page and to the power dynamics that play a part in my relationship with and to these women and their writing. This is part of my ongoing exploration of an ethics of translation that is rooted in queer and feminist theories valuing vulnerability, uncertainty, collaboration, and failure. As a poet and a student of literature, I had no previous on-the-ground experience with ethnography, and as a student of Chinese literature who originally intended to work with internal migrant workers in China, I faced a number of challenges after moving my research project to Taiwan because of Covid. This talk takes an essayistic approach—an approach of trying—to working through some of these challenges, including my own pregnancy and the birth of my first child while in Taiwan.

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Sexualities (NCU), International Master’s Program in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (NCU), International Institute for Cultural Studies (UST), Department of English (NCU), Higher Education Sprout Project (NCU)