Hoyt Long

Hoyt Long, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Japanese Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Wieboldt 301C
Teaching and Research Interests: 

My research and teaching center on modern Japan, with particular interests in regional literature, publishing history, media and communication, and environmental history. I also have an interest in the application of social-scientific methods to the study of how texts and ideas emerge and circulate within social and material systems.

In my current book project, I join this sociological interest with my interest in the history of communication in Japan. Specifically, I look at how developments in communications technology at the turn of the last century impacted practices of writing, patterns of social association, and ideas of communication itself. Utilizing a variety of materials (epistolary fiction, letter-writing manuals, correspondence magazines), I uncover emerging fantasies and beliefs about the meaning of connection in a postal age, particularly as they related to changing notions about handwriting, voice, memory, and brevity.  

A second project is taking shape as a series of collaborative essays, a lab for the study of global literary culture, and an eventual book on poetic modernism across the Pacific. In collaboration with Richard So, a colleague in English, I am exploring how social network analysis, text-mining, and other computational methods facilitate large scale comparative inquiries into the social dynamics of literary and artistic production. Currently, the project is funded through a generous grant from Chicago’s Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society. See our website for more details. I am also a contributing member to Knowledge Lab, a research network for the study of metaknowledge.

This interest in networks and the sociology of literary forms was originally developed in my first book, On Uneven Ground, which examined the relation of cultural production and spatial imagination in Japan’s interwar period. Giving specific attention to the life and writings of Miyazawa Kenji (1896-1933), the book makes several theoretical claims about the interaction of discourse with geographical location and physical environment, while also advancing a methodology for tracing genealogies of local imagining in space and across time.

Selected Publications: 
  • “Literary Pattern Recognition: Modernism between Close Reading and Machine Learning,” with Richard So (in progress).
  • “Fog and Steel: Mapping Communities of Translation in an Information Age,” Journal of Japanese Studies (forthcoming).
  • “(Il)legibility and Handwriting in Meiji Letters: A Media History,” positions: asia critique (forthcoming).
  • Network Analysis and the Sociology of Modernism,” with Richard So, boundary 2 (Summer, 2013).
  • On Uneven Ground: Miyazawa Kenji and the Making of Place in Modern Japan (Stanford University Press, 2012).
  • Performing the Village Square in Interwar Japan: Toward a Hidden History of Public Space,” Journal of Asian Studies 70.3 (August, 2011).
  • Network Analysis, Literary Criticism, and the Digital Humanities
  • Media, History, East Asia
  • The Question of Minor Literature in Modern Japan
  • The Modern Japanese Nove
  • Imagining Environment in East Asia