Korea Colloquium

2020 Oct 01

Korean Families: Yesterday and Today

6:00pm to 7:30pm

Location: 

Online Event (Zoom)

SBS Seminar (Roundtable Talk); co-sponsored by the James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Hyunjoon Park
Korea Foundation Professor of Sociology; Director, James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Hyeyoung Woo
Professor of Sociology, Portland State University

Eunsil Oh
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Asian Languages and Culture, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Moderated by Paul Chang, Associate Professor of Sociology, Harvard University

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To attend this event online, we ask that you please register via the following link:
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As we approach the event date, you will receive a reminder email with the Zoom link.
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About the Book
Korean families have changed significantly during the last few decades in their composition, structure, attitudes, and function. Delayed and forgone marriage, fertility decline, and rising divorce rates are just a few examples of changes that Korean families have experienced at a rapid pace, more dramatic than in many other contemporary societies. Moreover, the increase of marriages between Korean men and foreign women has further diversified Korean families. Yet traditional norms and attitudes toward gender and family continue to shape Korean men and women’s family behaviors.

Korean Families Yesterday and Today portrays diverse aspects of the contemporary Korean families and, by explicitly or implicitly situating contemporary families within a comparative historical perspective, reveal how the past of Korean families evolved into their current shapes. While the study of families can be approached in many different angles, our lens focuses on families with children or young adults who are about to forge family through marriage and other means. This focus reflects that delayed marriage and declined fertility are two sweeping demographic trends in Korea, affecting family formation. Moreover, “intensive” parenting has characterized Korean young parents and therefore, examining change and persistence in parenting provides important clues for family change in Korea.

This volume should be of interest not only to readers who are interested in Korea but also to those who want to understand broad family changes in East Asia in comparative perspective.


Generously supported by the SBS Research Fund at the Korea Institute, Harvard University

2021 Apr 08

Title TBA

6:00pm to 7:30pm

Location: 

Online Event (Zoom)

Korea Colloquium

Jinsoo An
Associate Professor, Korean Studies, Dept. of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of California, Berkeley

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2021 Feb 18

Title TBA

6:00pm to 7:30pm

Location: 

Online Event (Zoom)
Korea Colloquium

Tian Li
Korea Foundation-Korea Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, Korea Institute, Harvard University (Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from the University of California, Irvine)

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2020 Nov 12

Citizenship and Belonging: How do North Korean Defectors 'become' South Korean?

4:00pm to 5:00pm

Location: 

Online Event (Zoom)

Korea Colloquium (This event is part of the Race and Racism in Asia and Beyond Series, co-sponsored by the Harvard Asia Center, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Program on US-Japan Relations, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies)


Jennifer Hough
Korea Foundation-Korea Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, Korea Institute, Harvard University (DPhil from the University of Oxford, 2017)

Dr Jennifer Hough is a Korea Foundation-Korea Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University for 2020-21, and a social anthropologist specializing in the politics of inclusion and exclusion in divided societies, with a particular interest in questions of citizenship, belonging, and identity. She received her DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2017. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, her thesis analyzed the specific conditions that young North Korean migrants encounter after arrival in South Korea, exploring the gap between the expectations and realities of resettlement. Her publications have appeared in Geopolitics and Critical Asian Studies, and her research has been supported by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the Academy of Korean Studies, and the Pony Chung Foundation, among others. She is currently working on a book manuscript that uses the detailed narratives of North Korean migrants to explore their experiences of limited inclusion, analyzing the mechanisms of their hierarchical differentiation and the ways that they actively work to achieve a sense of practical belonging in South Korean society. Before joining Harvard, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Korea University and SOAS University of London.

Abstract:
Over 33,000 North Koreans have arrived in South Korea since the Korean War in the 1950s, with the majority migrating since famine in the North in the mid-1990s. As a result of the specific geopolitical configuration of the Korean peninsula, South Koreans view North Koreans as compatriots but also as victims and enemies: contradictory perceptions that affect their daily lives as they attempt to integrate into South Korean society. My work as a whole looks in detail at a further contradiction, between their immediate official recognition as South Korean citizens and the more open-ended process of achieving a sense of practical belonging. Although North Koreans receive South Korean citizenship upon arrival, they often describe feeling inferior to South Koreans due to perceived discrimination and prejudice. Consequently, many speak of feeling a personal responsibility to prove themselves to be deserving and responsible and, in this talk, I outline some of the kinds of active work that they undertake in an attempt to gain the recognition of South Koreans around them.

Chaired by Nicholas Harkness, Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University
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To attend this event online, we ask that you please register via the following link:
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2020 Feb 06

Scholarly Dissidence in Early Chosŏn: Disengaging Scholars and Alternative Ways of Serving

4:30pm to 6:30pm

Location: 

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

Korea Colloquium
2.6_kc_digital_file.png

Diana Yuksel
Assistant Professor of Korean Language and Literature, University of Bucharest; Fulbright Visiting Scholar, Korea Institute, Harvard University

Chaired by Sun Joo Kim, Harvard-Yenching Professor of Korean History; Director, Korea Institute, Harvard University

Generously supported by the Min Young-Chul Memorial Fund at the Korea Institute... Read more about Scholarly Dissidence in Early Chosŏn: Disengaging Scholars and Alternative Ways of Serving

2019 Nov 14

A Sublime Disaster: The Sewŏl Ferry Incident and the Politics of the Living Dead

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

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

Korea Colloquium
11.14 Korea Colloquium Poster

Hyun Ok Park
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, York University

With archival and ethnographic research, her research investigates global capitalism, empire, transnational migration and disaspora, democracy, and comparative-historical method. She is the author of Two Dreams in One Bed: Empire, Social Life, and the Origins of the North Korean Revolution in Manchuria (Duke University Press, 2005), and The Capitalist Unconscious: From Korean Unification to Transnational Korea (Columbia University Press, 2015). Park is currently completing a book manuscript, “A Sublime Disaster,” which approaches the movement to uncover the truth of the Sewŏl incident as the culmination of  two imperative but unexplored strands of 21st-century popular politics in South Korea: the candlelight protests and the politics of life. Hyun Ok Park has been a member of the Institute for Advanced for Advanced Study in Princeton, as well as a recipient of fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Academy of Korean Studies, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She is Director of the Korean studies institute, Korean Office for Research and Education (KORE), at York University, which is supported by the Core University Program for Korean Studies of the Academy of Korean Studies.

Chaired by Nicholas Harkness, Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University

Abstract
The poignant expressions — “We are all the Sewŏl ferry” and “We are all sunken deep under the sea” — reveal the Sewŏl ferry’s sinking in 2014 as a metonym of the collective death under South Korea’s crisis-ridden democracy. This talk focuses on the five-year-long occupy struggle to uncover the truth of the disaster in Kwanghwamun Square in Seoul downtown, especially the Yellow Ribbon Workshop and its autonomy from the 416 United that oversaw the occupy site. Although the 416 United credits the workshop with maintaining the participation of individual citizens in the struggle, the workshop remains a mystery to all. I conceptualize the workshop's hand-making and free-sharing of yellow ribbons—the symbol of the disaster—as play that creates equal social relations, breaks the dictatorship of consumption, and organizes life into a festival. While deploying these modern prescriptions to revolutionize the everyday life, workshop participants also take on a rhizomatic character, such as indiscipline, non-cumulative relationship, and cellular participation, without being bound to the 416 United and its goal of regime change. I contrast this play with the dark tourism, and consider it an alternative to the healing industries and culture that have proliferated under neoliberal capitalism.

Generously supported by the Min Young-Chul Memorial Fund at the Korea Institute.

2019 Oct 03

Transcending the Frontier: Aesthetic Encounters Between North and South Korea in the Twilight of the Cold War

4:30pm to 6:30pm

Location: 

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

Korea Colloquium
10.3 KC Poster

Douglas Gabriel
Soon Young Kim Postdoctoral Fellow, Korea Institute, Harvard University

Douglas Gabriel is the 2019–20 Soon Young Kim Postdoctoral Fellow at the Korea Institute, Harvard University. He received his...

Read more about Transcending the Frontier: Aesthetic Encounters Between North and South Korea in the Twilight of the Cold War
2019 Apr 11

Engineering the Moral Heart: Science and Literature in Postwar North Korea

4:30pm to 6:30pm

Location: 

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

Korea Colloquium
4/11 KC

Dafna Zur
Assistant Professor, Korean Literature and Culture, Stanford University; Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Dafna Zur teaches courses on Korean literature,...

Read more about Engineering the Moral Heart: Science and Literature in Postwar North Korea
2019 Mar 07

From March First to April 19th: Enacting Memories of Anticolonial Resistance in Cold War South Korea

4:30pm to 6:30pm

Location: 

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

Special Korea Colloquium (100th Anniversary of March 1st Movement)
3.7 Korea Colloquium

Charles R. Kim
Korea Foundation Associate Professor of Korean Studies, Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Charles Kim is...

Read more about From March First to April 19th: Enacting Memories of Anticolonial Resistance in Cold War South Korea
2018 Dec 06

Between Freedom and Death: Female Taxi Drivers as Cross-Gender Labor in Authoritarian South Korea

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Porte Seminar Room (S250), 2nd Floor, CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street

Korea Colloquium
12/6 KC Poster  

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Todd Henry
Associate Professor, Department of History, University of California at San Diego

Todd Henry (Ph.D., UCLA, 2006; Associate Professor) is a specialist of modern Korea with a focus on the period of Japanese rule (1905-1945) and its postcolonial afterlives. A social and cultural historian interested in global forces that (re)produce lived spaces, he examines cross-border processes that link South Korea, North Korea, Japan, and the US in the creation of “Hot War” militarisms, the transpacific practice of medical science, and the embodied experiences of hetero-patriarchal capitalism. Dr. Henry’s first book, Assimilating Seoul (UC Press, 2014), addressed the violent but contested role of public spaces in colonial Korea. He has also written several related articles on questions of place, race, and nation in colonizing and decolonizing movements on the peninsula. Currently, Dr. Henry is completing his second book, entitled The Profit of Queerness. This study of authoritarian development in Cold War South Korea (1948-1993) examines the ideological functions and subcultural dynamics of queerness as they relate to middlebrow journalism and sexual science, anti-communist modes of kinship and citizenship, and globalized discourses and practices of the “sexual revolution.” A sample of this new work appears in his edited volume, Queer Korea (Duke UP, 2019).  A third book will explore how the pre-WWII history of imperialism and militarism in the Asia-Pacific region informed articulations of virile masculinity and practices of gay sex tourism in postwar Japan and across its former empire.  Dr. Henry has received two Fulbright grants (Kyoto University, 2004-2005; Hanyang and Ewha Womans Universities, 2013), two fellowships from the Korea Foundation (Seoul National University, 2003-2004; Harvard University, 2008-2009), and one fellowship from the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (Seoul National University, 2019). At UCSD, he is an affiliate faculty member of Critical Gender Studies and Science Studies. From 2013 until 2018, Dr. Henry served as the inaugural director of Transnational Korean Studies, the recipient of a $600,000 grant from the Academy of Korean Studies as a Core University Program for Korean Studies.

Chaired by Carter Eckert, Yoon Se Young Professor of Korean History, Harvard University

Abstract:
This paper analyzes media representations of cross-gender labor with a focus on female taxi drivers. Through the everyday lives of these women, I examine what such non-normative working practices reveal about the gendered and sexualized dynamics of South Korea’s authoritarian development, a topic yet to receive adequate attention. I propose that city streets functioned as an empowering but dangerous stage where female taxi drivers explored new forms of wage labor and human intimacies. Because these practices challenged hetero-patriarchal and bourgeois prescriptions of reproduction and housewifery, state-censored publications decried them as “eccentric,” while media entrepreneurs sought to profit from their sensationalization. In highlighting urban space as an eroticized contact zone, the paper brings into a dialogue two fields that rarely speak to one another: Korean Studies and Queer Studies. In terms of the former, female taxi drivers demonstrate that gender variance and non-normative sexuality were generative products of rapid industrialization. I argue that this occupation offered working-class women a limited degree of freedom from hetero-patriarchal pressures. Even as their journeys into public space empowered them, repeated exposure – accentuated by alarming reports alleging infringement on male privilege – subjected them to violent assault and even death. Finally, I connect the necropolitical underside of female taxi driving to the everyday struggles of queer and migrant people of color, whose precarious lives ethnic studies scholars have deployed as a critique of liberal humanism and multi-cultural assimilation. Through these comparative insights, I emphasize the informal bonds that Korean cabwomen formed in response to popular scrutiny and misogynistic harassment. I suggest how their gynocentric associations aimed to protect themselves from a male-dominated state and society upon which they could not rely for sustenance nor survival.

Generously supported by the Min Young-Chul Memorial Fund at the Korea Institute. 

2018 Oct 11

Kim Chi-ha and the Politics of Death in South Korean Democratization

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

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

Korea Colloquium
1
Youngju Ryu
Associate Professor of Modern Korean Literature, University of Michigan

Youngju Ryu is Associate Professor of Korean Literature at the University of Michigan. Her first book, Writers of the Winter Republic:...

Read more about Kim Chi-ha and the Politics of Death in South Korean Democratization

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