We hope you are all healthy and well as the fall semester begins. We are eager to welcome you back at Harvard virtually! We encourage you to reach out to the Korea Institute to learn about our upcoming events, activities, programs and resources/funding that the Korea Institute offers. On the front page of our website, there is an events listserv sign-up, in case you may be interested. For student program questions, please feel free to reach out to our Program Coordinator, Catherine, firstname.lastname@example.org. We very much look forward to getting to know you or reconnecting with...
Announcing one of our new Korea Foundation-Korea Institute Postdoctoral Fellows for AY20-21, Dr. Jennifer Hough. Jennifer Hough is a social anthropologist specializing in the politics of inclusion and exclusion in divided societies, with a particular interest in questions of social inequality, identity, and belonging. She received her DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2017 with a thesis analyzing the specific challenges that young North Korean migrants face after arrival in South Korea. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, her research addresses the question of why North... Read more about Announcing one of the new Korea Foundation-Korea Institute Postdoctoral Fellows for AY20-21, Dr. Jennifer Hough
Announcing one of our new Korea Foundation-Korea Institute Postdoctoral Fellows for AY20-21, Dr. Tian Li. Tian Li specializes in Korean and Chinese film, media, and cultural studies. She received her Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from the University of California, Irvine. She was a lecturer of Asian Screen Cultures at Stanford University. Her writings on Sino-Korean screen media interactions have appeared in peer-reviewed journals, such as Telos, China Perspectives, and Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies. Her current book project...
Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature and Culture: Volume Thirteen Edited by Young-Jun Lee, Professor, Kyung Hee University, South Korea
Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature & Culture promotes Korean literature among English-language readers. Each issue may include works of contemporary Korean writers and poets, as well as essays and book reviews by Korean studies professors in the United States. Azalea introduces to the world new writers as well as promising translators, providing the academic community of Korean studies with well-translated texts for college courses. Writers from around the world also share their experience of Korean literature or culture with wider audiences.
Editor's Note South Korea is a republic of poetry. A phenomenon absent in other countries can be found in the South Korean poetry publishing world. In recent decades, the scale of poetry sales seems to be staggering, but in the 1980s and 1990s, there were several poetry books selling at least a million volumes, including some selling in the multi-millions. The number of new poetry books has been steady for decades, averaging around 500 each year. In almost every bookstore, there is a dedicated poetry section, and in large bookstores, there are sections where poetry bestsellers are exclusively collected and displayed.
Several large publishers continue to publish poetry series that have lasted for decades, and it is an honor to be included in these series. A poet who has their work included in such a series can earn an annual royalty based on book sales. In most countries, receiving royalty payments for publishing poetry is unrealistic, except for Nobel Prize–winning poets. Perhaps South Korea is the only country where it is not strange for poets to get paid to publish their work in literary magazines and receive a royalty for their books. Of course, it does not mean that there are millionaire poets. However, some poets in South Korea are paid considerably for their poetry; it is not rare that bookshops will hold book-signings for poets, whose books sometimes sell more than a hundred thousand volumes.
The most popular poets become celebrities and even appear on TV talk shows. In this cultural environment, it is only natural that there are many people who aspire to become poets, and compete for inclusion in prestigious series of poetry. Critics have at times decried the phenomenon that some were related to such major publishers as literary powers. This phenomenon goes to show how the Republic of Korea is indeed a republic of poetry.
The special feature of this issue of Azalea carries a feast of research: eight essays on modern Korean poetry, thanks to the endeavors of the two guest editors, Jae Won Chung and Benoit Berthelier. From the beginning period of the 1920s, described by Ku In-mo and David Krolikoski, to the genealogy of modernism, written by Jae Won Edward Chung, to North Korean poetry, covered by Benoit Berthelier and Sonja Haeussler, to twenty-first-century South Korean poetry, examined by Cho Kang-sŏk and Ivanna Sang Een Yi, this feature evinces that the field of modern Korean poetry has gotten in firm stakes.
In the poetry section, alongside the somewhat male-dominant history of modern Korean poetry sketched by the aforementioned research, we have three women poets: Choi Jeongrye, Kim So Yeon, and Kim Yideum. Their poems, deeply immersed in their interiorities, stand out in the current field of Korean poetry.
The Writer in Focus introduces Kim Hoon, currently one of the most popular writers in South Korea. Kim Hoon's literary world, which is often said to have opened a unique style of vernacular Korean writing, especially in historical novels, shows how much poetry has combined with prose. The metaphoric images in his writing often reach poetry, about which Korean readers have been enthusiastic.
Bookstores in Korea are said to have recently seen increased sales of books because people are remaining at home, much like those in the era of the Decameron. After 9/11 in America, poetry was suddenly summoned to public interest, and poetry reading events became quite popular for a while. We send this issue to readers with the hope that they might have more time for reading poems than before.
Published by the Korea Institute, Harvard University
Inaugural 2019 New England regional Korean Speech Contest
We are very happy to share that the first New England regional Korean Speech Contest for area college students was held Saturday, November 16, 2019, at Wellesley College. The event included 22 student contestants who hailed from Boston College, Boston University, Brown University, Harvard University, MIT, and Wellesley College. There were close to 150 attendees who...
The Korean Language Program is delighted to announce the AY2019-2020 Korean Language Achievement Awards to recognize devotion and excellence in learning the Korean language and culture to the advanced level at Harvard University, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. With this recognition, a prize and certificate recognizing the achievement is awarded to the most outstanding students. In so doing, we hope to inspire more students in the field of Korean studies to understand the value of acquiring Korean language and cultural expertise.
Harvard University is paying close attention to the public health concerns related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). President Bacow has announced a range of steps that Harvard is taking in response to the situation.
Please join us in congratulating Professor Yoon Sun Yang and Professor Hwansoo Kim, who will each be honored with 2020 AAS Book Awards for their recent monographs, all published by the Asia Center Publications Program.
Professor Hwansoo Kim has been awarded the Palais Prize Honorable Mention for his work, The Korean Buddhist Empire: A Transnational History 1910–1945.In addition, Professor Kim was also recently awarded a book prize for The Korean Buddhist Empire by the Minister of Education of South Korea for its contribution to Korean Studies in 2019.
The James B. Palais Prize of the Association for Asian Studies was initiated by the Palais Prize committee headed by AAS President Robert Buswell in 2008-09. The Palais Prize is given annually to an outstanding scholar of Korean studies from any discipline or country specialization to recognize distinguished scholarly work on Korea.