Meet Aragorn Quinn from an Evening in the Land of the Rising Sun

Who is he?

Dr. Aragorn Quinn is an assistant professor for the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at UWM. He is a Fellow in the Fulbright Japan Foundation. He earned his PhD from Stanford University in 2015.

“My interest in Japan originated in a fascination with Japanese performance. Coming from a training in Western dramaturgy, the theatrical traditions of kabuki, noh, and the bunraku puppet theater opened my eyes to new ways of embodying narrative. This interest drew me to early translations of Western theater in Japan, where the first translations of Shakespeare in Japan, for instance, were rendered in the idioms of traditional Japanese theater. Live, embodied performance is central to who we are as human beings, and learning new ways that stories are told through live bodies has been my lens through which I focus my research on modern Japan.”

What does he do?

Quinn specializes in modern Japanese performance, literature, and translation. He wrote articles and other scholarly works including Performing the Politics of Translation in Modern Japan in 2015 and Inventing Japan: Norms and the Translation of Japanese Literature in 2006.

“My current research project uses performance and translation to understand the politics surrounding the emergence of modern Japan in 1868. In this key historical moment, performance became a central tool through which to understand Enlightenment ideals such as “liberty” and “revolution” that had been newly introduced to Japan. My project examines performances that centered around these newly translated and transformed political theories, and how these performance came to inform major political decisions such as the crafting of Japan’s first constitution.”

Why Milwaukee?

“I am drawn to Milwaukee, and UWM in particular, because of the unique combination of an urban environment surrounding a research and access oriented public university. It is difficult to find another place where research is highly valued in a place where it can be shared with a broad audience of interested non-specialists.”

Where is he going?

He’s one of the presenters for our Evening in the Land of the Rising Sun show every Friday at 7 p.m. from now until May 5. Join us at 6 p.m. each day for Spring Festival activities including food and games.

Dr. Hilary K. Snow from the UWM Honors College will be joining Quinn as a presenter. Get to know her here.