Interim Associate Dean Publishes Article

Jennifer Haytock (Interim Associate Dean and Professor of English) published the essay “Structural Racism and Just War Theory in Post-World War II America: Susan Choi and Toni Morrison on Violence, Imagination, and Human Flourishing” in the journal LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory.

This article argues that two American novels about the Korean War illustrate how systemic racial inequality in the US makes the attempt at reaching the ideal of Augustinian “just war” fundamentally impossible.


Building on Ty Hawkins and Andrew Kim’s work in Just War Theory and Literary Studies: An Invitation to Dialogue (2021), this essay examines two retrospective novels about the Korean War in light of American post-World War II racial hegemony. Examining literary representations of this war reveals the deep implications of the American imagination in whiteness, including its erasure of and blindness toward civilians—almost exclusively nonwhite—and the impossibility of a nation whose identity and structures are so implicated in whiteness to enact just war. In The Foreign Student (1998) and Home (2012), Susan Choi and Toni Morrison make visible the self-interest of white America, portray viscerally the consequences of racial ways of thinking for Korean civilians, and render the consequences for Americans themselves, particularly women and nonwhite Americans. Both writers illuminate the necessity of imagination in promoting justice and as central to all the possibilities of human flourishing.

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Posted: September 22, 2023