Goyland Williams

Guest lecturer to discuss impact of Langston Hughes in China

Thu, 04/26/2012
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LAWRENCE — An author and professor from China best known for his research on English poetry, African-American literature and literary translation has been invited by the University of Kansas for a lecture about Langston Hughes.

Luo Lianggong, a professor of English at Central China Normal University in Wuhan, China, will discuss “Langston Hughes in China” at noon Monday, April 30, at Watson Library, Room 503. The event, sponsored by the Project on the History of Black Writing, the Center for East Asian Studies and The Langston Hughes Center, comes just before the close of National Poetry Month. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Hughes has been judged to be the most widely read American poet. Chinese scholars and writers first accepted him because of his leftist writings in the 1930s, and later, according to Lianggong, as “a master of art with constant social engagement.” Along with Hughes’ reception in China, Lianggong’s studies focus on the interplay between art and politics in Hughes’ literary works, and American literary tradition.

“This is a crucial perspective and topic in the research on Hughes, which will lead to a rediscovery of Hughes’ literary legacy and its role in the shaping and reshaping of American literature,” Lianggong said.

Lianggong is also the director of the Centre for English Literatures, as well as vice dean of the School of Foreign Languages at Central China Normal University. He has published more than 40 articles on African-American literature and literary translation in China and abroad, and has edited and/or translated more than 10 books. Several of these, including “Selected Readings of the 20th Century American Literature,” have won awards. He concurrently serves as standing director of the Chinese Association for the Study of American Literature and executive director of the University of Pennsylvania-based Chinese/American Association for Poetry and Poetics (CAAP). Lianggong was named a 2011-2012 Fulbright research scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

The lecture comes a month after the first showing of selections from the 100 Novels Project in March. The exhibit was organized by the Project on the History of Black Writing to celebrate the political, social, cultural and historical significance of 100 works of black literature.

The Project on the History of Black Writing has been in the forefront of research and inclusion efforts in higher education for 29 years. Founded in 1983 at the University of Mississippi, Oxford, the Project moved to KU in 1999 and is the only archive of its kind dedicated to literary recovery, professional development and public outreach. A major goal is to collect every novel ever published by an African-American writer. The project has more than 1,200 novels in its collection published by African-American authors since William Wells Brown’s “Clotel; or, the President’s Daughter” (1853).

The Project on the History of Black Writing is housed in the Department of English, which along with the Center for East Asian Studies, is among the 50-plus departments, programs and centers in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The College at KU is the largest academic unit at the University of Kansas, with dozens of diverse majors in natural sciences and mathematics, social and behavioral sciences, humanities, international and interdisciplinary studies, and the arts.

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