This study traces the history and contribution of the Korean Christian Literacy Association (KCLA) to literacy expansion in South Korea from liberation in 1945 to the 1960s. There are critical gaps in the data and analysis concerning the role of civil society organizations (CSO), and especially religious-based organizations, in South Korea’s literacy expansion. This study examines data and documents on one CSO—the KCLA—and the extent to which it was influenced by the American missionary Frank Laubach. Laubach and his team’s one-month visit to South Korea through the arrangement of American Protestant missionaries was the beginning of the KCLA. Through the support of foreign missionaries, their connections with the United States Army Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK), the South Korean government, and funding sources overseas, South Korean Christian leaders took the Laubach method and Laubach’s teaching materials, such as the Hangeul cheotgeoleum (Korean Primer) and the Story of Jesus, and conducted an adult literacy campaign through literacy classes, reading classes, and Readers’ Clubs. While the number of enrollments, publications, and the outcome of these activities are not yet clearly verifiable, it is evident that the activities of the KCLA, through connections with Frank Laubach, foreign missionaries, and foreign funding sources, significantly contributed to adult literacy education in South Korea.
This essay applies Marianne Hirsch’s theory of the postmemory generation to Jaehee Hong’s My Father’s Emails (2014) and Yonghi Yang’s Dear Pyongyang (2006), personal documentaries on their father’s traumatic experiences during the Korean War as seen from the daughters’ perspectives. Both documentaries underscore the father’s absence and silence and the lack of direct knowledge of the Korean War and subsequent ideological conflicts, two important traits of the experiences of the postmemory generation. First, inspired by feminist discourses on historical accounts and Hirsch’s theory of postmemory, I focus on how these female filmmakers utilize personal memories of their fathers to question the official historical narrative, dominated by frustrated and violent manhood, in postwar South Korean cinema. Second, this essay also deals with My Father’s Emails and Dear Pyongyang as important examples that challenge traditional definitions of documentary; both films consist of archival photography as well as fictional and interpretative elements—fluctuating between remembrance and oblivion or between understanding and confusion. The unsettled relations between the fathers and daughters, in a way, well reflect the ambiguous role of personal documentaries in resolving the gap between the war survivors and the postmemory and postwar generation in South Korea.
This article focuses on textual analysis of the Wasa ogan (A Court Case of Frog and Snake), a fabulous court-case story written in the late Joseon period. The emergence of the genre of court-case fiction was inseparably linked to the wide diffusion of litigation culture and the growth of popular interest in law and justice in late Joseon society. Fabulous court-case fiction, in which the courtroom of the animal world is depicted rather than a setting for human justice, is an ingenious blend of two separate narrative traditions—court-case fiction and fable. Of these types of stories, the Wasa ogan is truly remarkable in that it ingeniously incorporates the form of an inquest record (geoman) into the genre of fable. Inquest records are highly formulaic legal documents, in which the processes of inquest (geomheom) consisting of autopsy and interrogation are recorded in idu writing. By combining the precision of legal writing with the pleasure of fiction, the text demonstrates how the convergence of law and literature and of fact and fantasy is possible. As for the relationship between law and literature, the text is a prominent example illustrating the perspectives of law as literature as well as the law in literature.
Psy’s Gangnam Style was the first YouTube video ever to reach one and then two billion hits. This paper examines how and why it succeeded in speaking to and for so many in its time. Psy’s Gangnam Style is best understood as a multi-media, digital representation of the metropolitan experience, a cityscape. If traditional pastoral represents a yearning to flee to the country to escape the alienation of the city, Psy’s song and dance is an invitation to recreate an alternative pastoral in the city. Daily life is transposed into leisure as festivity becomes possible in city spaces planned and developed for entirely different purposes. In the tradition of the modernist flâneur, Psy narrates the city from the perspective of the scavenger or ragpicker making his way through the glorious detritus of contemporary commodity culture. Carnival, mass ornament, flâneur—these are the tropes I borrow from classical cultural studies to examine Gangnam Style’s different facets of engagement with urban issues. In the conclusion, I lean on Jacques Rancière on the distribution of the sensible to argue that it is ultimately through the expansion of the aesthetic through play that Gangnam Style seeks to recuperate the right to the city.
Since the late 1990s, Hallyu has grown not only as a global cultural phenomenon but also as a prominent academic subject in international academia. In the context of such an accumulation of research, this article aims to explore the geography of Hallyu studies published in English. We collected 217 academic articles on Hallyu published in international journals from 2000 to 2016 from the Web of Science, extracted data such as author, journal, and keywords from each article, and structured them into the form of knowledge networks. The results show how the field of Hallyu studies is structured, revealing what kind of concepts and theories are employed and how academic agents such as journals and authors are interconnected. In addition, by comparing our findings to another meta-analysis on Hallyu studies in Korean academia, this article discusses what similarities and differences are found between domestic and foreign academia and suggests that two academia have been developed in a close relationship. Our findings will provide critical knowledge on the current status of international Hallyu studies and give insights on its future direction.
This study focuses on organization and activity of the U.S. Army’s 164th Signal Photo Company in the CBI Theater and the still and motion pictures related to Japanese military Comfort Women captured by army photographers. With attention to related documents and testimonies, this study addresses the “seen side” and “blind side” of the photographers, as well as the intent and nature of the army photographers’ activities. Moreover, these images help to uncover the stories of individual Korean Comfort Women who became subjects in these still and motion pictures. Nevertheless, these still and motion pictures do not easily reveal the entire truth. Rather, they appear to be concealing something. The voices of women are silenced in the still and motion pictures. As a result, this study was only able to access their voices through interrogation reports, news articles, and personal accounts by the interrogators who interviewed the women.
For Soviet Koreans the Korean theater, founded by amateur groups in Vladivostok, became the embodiment of ethnic art, literature, music, dance and costume. After its deportation, the theater worked in Kyzyl-Orda (1937–41; 1959–68) and Ushtobe (1942–59). It moved to Alma-Ata in 1966 and has been based there ever since. For over 85 years, the Korean theater has been maintaining and promoting national culture among not only the Korean diaspora but also the diverse ethnic populations of the Soviet Union. The promoting the cultural interests of the country of origin in a multiethnic environment. This means that the theater’s mission regarding Koreans in the former Soviet Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was and still is twofold: “diaspora building” and “Diaspora intergration.” The recent challenges and trends faced by this unique diasporic theater demands a synergy between the Korean diaspora and its ethnic motherland’s efforts.
This paper reappraises the Oasis project’s performance of occupying the Mokdong Artists Hall in Seoul in 2004, utilizing the concept of scriptive things within relational aesthetics and politics as dissensus. The construction of the hall originated in the election pledges of former President Kim Young-sam and was led by the Federation of Artistic & Cultural Organization of Korea to allow artists to rent spaces for their activities. In 2003, a Korean parliament audit was conducted on a corruption allegation raised against the federation, following which the government subsidies to the federation for the project were confiscated. In January 2004 the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism took over the project to establish a fair and transparent process for the building’s construction. Despite the ministry’s intervention the hall was abandoned due to its suspended construction. This triggered Oasis’ decision to occupy the hall in 2004, with the aim of raising awareness of fundamental issues related to artists’ work spaces. Employing a space of dissensus where what is registered as mere noise by the police is turned into voice, I conclude that the reality of appearance illuminates the politics in the Oasis project’s performance, pointing attention as to why art space matters in Korea and focusing on the issue of artists who were expelled recently from urban regeneration areas due to the problem of gentrification.