The Korean Trickster Figure


Thursday, October 12, 2017, 4:30pm to 6:00pm


Thomas Chan-Soo Kang Room (S050), CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Korea Colloquium

Charles La Shure
Assistant Professor, Department of Korean Language and Literature, Seoul National University; Visiting Scholar, Korea Institute, Harvard University

Charles La Shure is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Korean Language and Literature at Seoul National University, Korea, where he teaches courses on Korean culture, literature, and folklore. His primary research subject is the Korean trickster figure, on which he has published articles in various Korean journals, contributed chapters for books, and written articles for encyclopedias and other reference materials. Other research interests include cultural heritage, multiculturalism, and comparative folklore studies. In addition to his research, he also translates Korean literature; recent publications include Kim Young-ha’s Black Flower and Kim Namcheon’s Scenes from the Enlightenment.

Chaired by Si Nae Park, Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

The trickster is a popular figure in folklore from around the world, and Korean folklore is no exception. By looking at three popular characters from Korean folktales—Bang Hakjung, Jeong Manseo, and Kim Seondal—in comparison with trickster figures from other folklore traditions, we will see how the Korean trickster fits into the greater global context. In particular, we will examine how the trickster’s liminal nature is expressed in his words and deeds, as well as what the trickster signifies in the Korean cultural context.

Generously supported by the Sunshik Min Endowment for the Advancement of Korean Literature at the Korea Institute, Harvard University. ​​​​​​