Principal Investigator: Ruth Barraclough (ANU, Department of Korean Studies)
This project brings together leading and emerging scholars of feminist history and literature from across Korea, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan and America to re-connect the transnational path of socialist and feminist practice across the Asia Pacific. ‘Asia Pacific’ is here defined in its broad sense of encompassing Australasia and America also. Under the rubric of Red Love, this project maps the intimate life of socialist movements in the 1920s and 1930s. While Red Love was an international phenomenon in the 1920s and 1930s that swept Europe, America, Asia and Australasia, to date it has only been examined in the context of national histories of socialist culture. Red Love, and the politics of intimacy that it uncovers, also provides an important backstory to the individuals who helped create the communist states of Asia: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Vietnam, Mongolia, and various socialist movements. The story of what happened to these cadres under state socialism gives us a fascinating glimpse into the personal politics of ambition, vengeance and betrayal that were at the heart of the consolidation of power in the early communist states. Covering biography, political history, and proletarian literature, this is an ambitious project that recasts the history of the midtwentieth century Asia- Pacific.
While histories of feminist and socialist movements have tended to tell their own national stories of twentieth century radicalism, the reality was more deeply internationalist than any one study can contain. Periods of exile, study abroad, and the craft of translation that was at the intellectual heart of these movements all relied on a transnational community of comrades both real and imagined. This project brings together for the first time a collection of scholars equipped to trace the geographical richness of these connections. Participants and invitees will include Paula Rabinowitz (University of Minnesota), Carole Ferrier (University of Queensland), Elyssa Faison (University of Oklahoma), Heather Bowen-Struyk (University of Michigan), Ruth Barraclough (ANU), Vera Mackie (University of Wollongong), Louise Edwards (University of Western Australia) and others.