Kevin Michael Smith

East Asian Languages and Cultures

Kevin Michael Smith specializes in modern Korean poetry and poetics. He earned his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory from UC Davis in 2019. His articles and translations have appeared in positions: east asia cultures critique; Modernism/modernity; Cross Currents: East Asian History and Culture ReviewTrans Asia Photography Review; and Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature & Culture. His first book project, Shuddering Century: Modernist Poetry in Colonial Korea and the Poetics of Historical Difference, examines the accelerated reception of the avant-gardes by Korean writers in the 1920s and ‘30s, proposing that Korean modernism was constituted by a nonsynchronous amalgamation of transplanted European and Japanese literary trends overdetermined by the colonial periphery’s uneven capitalist development, but simultaneously retained a revolutionary prolepsis anticipating and superseding this materialist infrastructure beyond the twin ideological projects of Japanese imperialization and national self-determination.

His interests in critical theory pertain primarily to Marxism and aesthetics, especially socialist humanism, theoretical anti-humanism, and posthumanism; value, labor, and commodity form; critical approaches to totality and mediation; intersectionality; and (non)Western Marxist intellectuals, including Georg Lukács, José Carlos Mariátegui, CLR James, Raya Dunayevskaya, Tosaka Jun, Sin Nam-cheol, and Rosa Luxemburg.