Concurrent with the #MeToo movement in the United States beginning in late 2017, South Korea has seen an unprecedented rise in feminist activism, particularly in Internet-driven youth culture, based in social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Adept at producing, sharing, and responding to textual, visual, and audio-visual media, Korean feminists also publicly express political agendas and communicate feminist issues through various avenues. The versatility of Korean feminism has galvanized many scholars into conducting hands-on research on contemporary feminist phenomena, and adopting different historiographical methodologies to demonstrate the interconnectivity between their media choices and fast-changing social factors in South Korea. Chang’s work on lesbian youth subculture and hangout cafes in Seoul, utilizes ethnographic methods to trace the ways in which technology affected queer youth spaces. In her essay on the anti-sexual violence movement, Schwartz uses ethnographic fieldwork and a historiographical feminist approach to argue that hashtags are an archival tool and an affective performative utterance. In her case study of Jane Jin Kaisen’s Strange Meetings (2017), Kim locates a “queerness” in Kaisen’s imagery of sex workers in U.S. camptowns in post-Korean War, to argue that camptown sex workers were framed as both dangerous to the nation and yet serviceable for national recovery. This panel proposes three different Korean feminist historiographies, each centering on a different feminist medium and notions of gender and sexuality situated in a particular historical time. We employ an interdisciplinary approach, including ethnography, cultural studies, media studies, postcolonial feminism, feminist epistemology, and critical literary theories.
Paper Presenter: Anat Schwartz – University of California, Irvine
Paper Presenter: Soyi Kim – University of Minnesota
Paper Presenter: Yoon Won Chang – Ewha Women's University
Co-Author: Ye Ji Park – Yonsei University
Co-Author: Sooyeon Tak – Yonsei University