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CCU kicks off dialogue series with geisha culture program

January 31, 2007

Coastal Carolina University English professor Maggie Ivanova will present a discussion titled "The 'Flower and Willow World:' Representations and Misrepresentations of Geisha Culture" on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m., at CCU's Waccamaw Higher Education Center at 160 Willbrook Blvd. The event is free and open to the public.

This discussion is part of the dialogue series "Unheard, Unseen, Unsolved" sponsored by the Board of Visitors of Coastal's Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Professor Ivanova will discuss the differences in representations of Japanese femininity and the geisha traditions, as viewed by both Western and Asian audiences, through Arthur Golden's bestseller "Memoirs of a Geisha," Mineko Iwasaki's autobiography "Geisha, A Life" and Rob Marshall's 2005 film "Memoirs of a Geisha."

"Marshall's screen adaptation rekindled the debates on represent actions of Japan's geisha culture," said Ivanova. "These peaked in 2003 when Iwasaki, the prototype of Golden's geisha, sued the author for breach of contract and defamation of character and published her own memoir. Iwasaki was severely criticized at home for breaking the geisha code of silence by being Golden's 'informant.'"

Ivanova earned a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, where she majored in modern British and Irish literature, specializing in drama. She also completed a double minor in Swedish and Russian literature.

Her research and teaching interests include translation and performance theories and histories, European nationalism and its influence on literature, East-West encounters in film and the arts, and the history of drama and aesthetic reception. Ivanova's most recent publication is "'Fair Fierce Women:' From the Rat-Wife and Peg Inerny to Cathleen Ni Houlihan in Stratos Constantinidis."

For more information, call the Waccamaw Higher Education at 349-4030.