Session Abstract: This multidisciplinary panel approaches the notion of Korean identity as a product of localized mediation, placing varying temporalities and mediums together into conversation on history, language, ethics, and subjectivity. Challenging monolithic and oftentimes totalizing methodologies that situate Korea only within larger constructs of empire or nation, each paper seeks to re-define, re-configure, and even deconstruct representations of “Koreanness” over the past eighty years through a more internal lens. Eun Young Seong traces how one man’s attempts to adapt a Korean folktale into Japanese theater can reveal an ambiguous and contradictory relationship between colony and metropole. Keung Yoon Bae closely examines exchanges between Chosŏn filmmakers during the colonial era to illuminate the self-image of colonial cinema at a time of heightened imperial regulation. Monica W. Cho interprets descriptions and narrations used within postwar newsreels to articulate the ways political discourse has framed Korean femininity and female labor. Finally, Sue Heun Kim Asokan studies filmic and literary narratives of vulnerability to consider how interactions between the politics of remembrance and the ethics of memory can affect the trajectory of Korea’s moral identity. Collectively, these papers break from conventional top-down interpretations and assert that identity is constructed through multifocal and multimodal mediations. This panel contributes to the fields of East Asian cultural studies, literature, film and media studies, theater and performance studies, and critical theory.
Paper Presenter: Sue Heun K. Asokan – University of Colorado Boulder
Paper Presenter: Keung Yoon Bae – Columbia University
Paper Presenter: Eun Young Seong – Williams College
Paper Presenter: Monica W. Cho – University of California, Irvine