This essay discusses the literary representations of the black Amerasian experience in Korea. It first studies a late-1920s novella that featured the first black-Korean character and foreshadowed the major issues facing black Amerasians in later Korean and Korean American narratives published from the mid-1950s. By putting Korean-language narratives into direct dialogue with their Anglophone counterparts, this transpacific study argues that the texts in Korean and English are complementary to each other and help piece together the diverse aspects of black Amerasian experience in Korea told from the two perspectives, Korean and Korean American. Both Korean and Korean American narratives portray black Amerasians fundamentally as the unfortunate victims of androcentrism, patriarchy, ethnonationalism, militarism, neo-imperialism, and racism. Yet there is a signal difference between the two literatures: whereas Korean narratives focus on black Amerasians’ discrimination and ostracization by Koreans, Korean American narratives highlight white racism in U.S. military facilities and criticize U.S. legal barriers and immigration policy against (black) Amerasians.
From a broad perspective, South Korea’s “Miracle on the Han River” appears quite miraculous. Economically, South Korea was transformed from one of the poorest nations in the world at the end of the Korean War to a developed nation in the early twenty-first century. The growing globalization of the world economy clearly empowered South Korea as growing integration into the world economy was the centerpiece of the nation’s economic developmental strategy. Yet, Korea’s rapid growth and industrial transformation appear paradoxical in several key regards. First, an economic miracle should produce a satisfied and grateful population, but most leading politicians and the country’s leading economic and political institutions have been fairly unpopular during most of South Korea’s postwar history. Second, the South Korean experience crosscuts the normal debate in development studies, which conflates globalization and neoliberalism. Third, South Korea’s widely vaunted developmental state in the 1960s and 1970s in reality departed quite significantly from the developmental state model. Finally, South Korea’s attempts to promote its integration into the global economy during the post-developmental state period produced several sets of contradictory effects.
Despite a plethora of studies on the authoritarian regime, scholars have paid less attention to how an authoritarian regime not only maintains but also legitimizes its power. Contra both political economists emphasizing the regime’s economic performance and social constructionists focusing on the “economy of power,” this study illuminates a constitutive dimension of the authoritarian rule in which citizens are morally reformed, civil society is fundamentally reconstituted, and nation is newly imagined by investigating South Korea’s Yushin regime (1972–1979) under Park Chung-hee’s leadership. By examining how bansanghoe, a monthly neighborhood meeting, buttressed the Yushin regime, this study analyzes and problematizes a complex process in which the extraordinary came to define the ordinariness, further blurring the line between the two. This paper concludes by exploring the possibility of the democratic transformation of bansanghoe, from its authoritarian legacy into a Tocquevillian grassroots organization in postdemocratic Korea.
This paper examines the artworks of the artists in the Asia, Politics, Art Project (APAProject) from the perspective of “performative narrative of the people,” a notion suggestedby Homi Bhabha. The APA Project shows how the artworks of diasporic artistsinscribe otherness within the otherwise homogeneous space of the nation. The participantartists, as the second and third generations of zainichi Korean, do not hold thememory of traumatic events suffered by the first minority generation. However, theirworks utilize postmemory based on dim images of memories inherited from theirfamily histories. The elements, such as a grandmother’s chimajeogori and the lyrics ofan old Korean song, are woven by Oh Haji into unique narratives that are distinctfrom the “pedagogical narrative of the people,” emphasizing unity and continuity of thenation-state. Kim uses chimajeogori in a multi-layered manner to reveal the existentialconditions of students bounded by a violence that has historical roots, but she doesnot treat it as a simplistic oppositional sign against the dominant national ideology. These minority writers/artists and their works are illustrative cases of performative narrativesthat use and reconstruct images in the history and everyday life of a minority,splitting the homogeneous space of the nation and suggesting new public and diasporicspaces within it.
This study examines discourses on Koreanness as constructed in the 1970s throughvisual culture in South Korea and argues that visual images were utilized to serve thestate’s objectives by uniting people’s consciousness. This study first discusses how traditionswere discovered under the government-led Five-Year Cultural Renaissance Planand how the country’s modernization was achieved in the 1970s using nationalismtowards national integration. Next, aspects of nationalism and discourses on Koreanness,which were portrayed in visual culture in the 1970s, are deciphered throughspecific works, including visual images from the fields of fine art and design. This studythen examines how discourses on Koreanness took shape in art education to nurturenational identity and nationalism under the Park Chung-hee regime. This study positsthat in the 1970s, Korean visual images were a crucial tool as visual-cultural phenomenato enhance the national spirit, promote development, and trigger competition withother countries, as they reconstructed the identity of the Korean people and clearlydifferentiated Koreans from others.
The new progressive women’s movement in South Korea, which began after 1987, hasattained huge success in a relatively short period of time. One key to this success istransnational solidarity between South Korean and German feminists. The transfer ofGerman feminism to South Korea was facilitated through two channels: a theoreticalintroduction via print media, and the support of German development assistance. Thecriticism of Anglo-American feminism and the acceptance of feminism in Germansocialism, although sometimes unpolished, paved the way for the rise of a new women’smovement. In addition, financial support given by the German Evangelical Center forDevelopment Assistance, which focused on gender parity, contributed to the successfuldevelopment of the new women’s movement. This study explores transnational solidaritybetween South Korean and German feminists, which offer a noticeable model forcollaboration between feminist movements in First and Third World countries.