Brett de Bary

Professor Emeritus


Brett de Bary received her B. A. from Barnard College, and her M. A. and Ph. D. from Harvard University. She has been Director of Cornell's Society for the Humanities (2003-2008, 2013-14) and Director of the Visual Studies Program (2000-2003); she holds a joint appointment with the Department of Asian Studies and the Department of Comparative Literature at Cornell. Her research interests include modern Japanese fiction and film; the Japanese post-modern; comparative literary theory, translation theory and post-colonial theory; and gender and philosophy. She is currently writing a book on translation, as practice and theory, in the work of contemporary artists and intellectuals like Tawada Yoko, Morisaki Kazue, Lee Chonghwa, Ukai Satoshi, and others. Most recently, she has co-edited and co-translated with Rebecca Jennison Lee Chonghwa’s Still Hear the Wound (Cornell East Asia Series, 2015), a volume of essays on contemporary installation, dance, video, and other art works dealing with issues of post-colonial memory in Japan. Ito Tari, Oh Haji, Soni Kum, and Yamashiro Chikako are among the artists featured in the book. Her essay on video artist Soni Kum has appeared in Asian Cinema (2015), on Morisaki Kazue in 『帰郷」の物語/「移動」の語り: 戦後日本におけるポストコロニアルの想像力』(Tokyo: Heibonsha, 2014), and on Tawada Yoko in Poetica (2012) and in The Politics of Representation edited by Richard Calichman and John Kim (2010). For Traces: A Multilingual Series of Cultural Theory and Translation, she has edited Universities in Translation: The Globalization of Mental Labor (HKUP, 2010).  Deconstructing Nationality, which she co-edited with Naoki Sakai and Iyotani Toshio, was published by the Cornell East Asia Series in 2005. Brett de Bary was a member of the Japan Foundation American Advisory Council from 1995-2002. She has held Fulbright, Japan Foundation, and Social Science Research Council Fellowships.




Research Focus

  • Modern Japanese Fiction and Film
  • Japanese literary theory
  • Gender and Philosophy
  • Translation theory
  • Japanese Women Writers: Morisaki Kazue, Tawada Yoko
  • Media and Literature


  • Lee Chong Hwa’s Still Hear the Wound: Towards an Asia, Art, Politics to Come. A volume of essays about contemporary installation, video, dance, and other art works dealing with post-colonial memory. Co-edited and co-translated with Rebecca Jennison (Cornell East Asia Series, 2015).
  • “Looking at Foreign Sky: Desperately Seeking Post-Asia: Soni Kum, Nagisa Oshima, Ri Chin’U,” in Asian Cinema, Vol. 25. No. 2 (Bristol, UK: Intellect Journals, 2015).
  • 「ジェンダー、空間的実践、惑星思考:森崎和江の築豊」(“Gender, Spatial Practice, Planetarity: Morisaki Kazue’s Chikuhô”) in 『「帰郷」のものがたり/「移動」の語り』(Narrating Mobilities; Narrating “Home”-comings: The Post-Colonial Imagination in Postwar Japan) edited by Hirata Yumi and Iyotani Toshio. (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 2014).
  • “World Literature in the Shadow of Translation: Reconsidering Tawada Yôko”, in Translation/Transmediation, Edited by Atsuko Sakaki, a Special Issue of POETICA: An International Journal of Linguistic-Literary Studies, No. 78 (Tokyo: Yushôdô Co. Ltd, 2012).
  • Universities in Translation: The Mental Labor of Globalization, Volume 5 in Traces: A Multilingual Series of Cultural Theory and Translation, edited by Brett de Bary. (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010). 
  • "Deixis, Dislocation, and Suspense in Translation: Tawada Yoko's Furo (Das Bad)," in Translation and the Senses of the Wor(l)d, Tamkang Studies of Foreign Languages and Literatures, No. 9 (Taiwan, Tamkang University: June, 2007). Essay.
  • [Revised and Reprinted in The Politics of Representation: A Festschrift for Naoki Sakai edited by Richard Calichman and John Kim (New York and London: Routledge, 2010].
  • Strange Fruit: Lynching, Visuality, Empire, a Special Issue of Nka, Journal of Contemporary African Art, edited by Salah Hassan, Brett de Bary, and Cheryl Finley, No. 20, Fall, 2006. Journal Special Issue.
  • "Orientalism in the Inter-cultural Imaginary: Romancing the Butterfly in D. Cronenberg and William Gibson," in Japanese translation in Rekishi no Egakikata 3, ed. Hirota Masaki and Carol Gluck (Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 2006). Essay.
  • Co-edited with Iyotani Toshio and Naoki Sakai, Deconstructing Nationality (Cornell University East Asia Series, 2005). Book.
  • "Gender Politics and Feminism," in Sources of Japanese Tradition, Vol. II, Revised Edition, ed. by W. T. de Bary and Carol Gluck (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005). Reprinted.
  • "The Vanishing Non-Narrator: the Transformation of Sensibility in Futabatei Shimei," in Transformations of Sensibility: the Phenomenology of Meiji Literature by Hideo Kamei. English translation edited by Michael Bourdaghs (Ann Arbot: Center for Japanese Studies. Michigan Monograph Series, 2003). Translated Essay.
  • Brett de Bary, Special Issue Editor, Gender and Imperialism, U.S.-Japan Women's Journal, No. 12, Spring, 1997. (Japanese edition published in 1998.)
  • Editor and translator, Origins of Modern Japanese Literature, by Karatani Kojin, Duke University Press, 1993. Arisawa Translation Award Finalist, 1994.







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