Solberg, S. E. (Sammy Edward), 1930-

An authority on Korean literature and a pioneer in the study of Asian American literature, S.E. (Sammy Edward) Solberg (1930-2005) was a scholar, translator, University of Washington professor, and an activist on behalf of the Asian American community in Washington State.

Born in Fertile, Minnesota, Solberg grew up and attended school in Montana and served with the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Korea during the early 1950s. He received a master's degree in East Asian Area Studies from the University of Washington in 1960, which he followed with three further years of graduate study at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. Upon his return from Korea, Solberg worked towards his doctorate in comparative literature (1971); he would remain affiliated with the University of Washington for thirty years. Solberg's initial research interests were in Korean literature, but expanded to include Korean-American and Asian-American literature, especially work on the Asian immigrant experience. In the early 1970s, Solberg began studying Filipino-American writer Carlos Bulosan, who, at the time of Solberg's research, had become a relatively obscure figure. Solberg's advocacy lay behind the 1973 reissue of Bulosan's long out-of-print, America is in the Heart. Solberg also promoted contemporary Asian-American writers, organizing the first Pacific Northwest Asian American Writers Conference (1976) with Steve Sumida. In 1989, he served as a co-editor with Sid White on the award-winning anthology, People of Washington: Perspectives on Cultural Diversity, a collection of essays about Washington's ethnic communities compiled to celebrate the state's centennial. Solberg also was active in the Seattle Korean-American community in Seattle for many years. In the 1980s, he also became heavily involved with Cambodian affairs. Solberg started a correspondence with Prince Norodom Sihanouk, then living in exile in Paris. He also became advisor to the University of Washington's Khmer Student Association and other Khmer community organizations. In addition to his scholary work and activism, Solberg was a partner in two business ventures, Amkor Trading Inc. and Lutusco International Ltd.


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2016-08-10 05:08:28 pm

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