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Presented By: Nam Center for Korean Studies

Nam Center Colloquium Series Lecture | The Birth of a (Korean) Nation (in Mexico): Transpacific Intimacies and Modern Entanglements in Kim Young-ha’s Black Flower

Junyoung Kim, Assistant Professor of Visual Culture and Media, Latin American Culture and Literature, University of Pittsburgh

Junyoung Kim, Assistant Professor of Visual Culture and Media, Latin American Culture and Literature, University of Pittsburgh Junyoung Kim, Assistant Professor of Visual Culture and Media, Latin American Culture and Literature, University of Pittsburgh
Junyoung Kim, Assistant Professor of Visual Culture and Media, Latin American Culture and Literature, University of Pittsburgh
Please note: This session is planned to be held both in-person and virtually EST through Zoom. This webinar is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Once you've registered, the joining information will be sent to your email.

Register at: https://myumi.ch/88Bdx

ResponsiBLUE verification is required to attend the lecture in person: https://responsiblue.umich.edu/sign-in

Cosponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

In 1904, as the Russo-Japanese War deepened and the rise of the Meiji Empire began to take hold including Japan’s annexation of the Korean peninsula, a thousand Koreans left their homes for Yucatán, Mexico, thereby becoming the first case of Korean migration to the Americas. Without the protection of the Korean government and lured by Mexican and Japanese contractors with the false promise of wealth and comfort, these migrants were sold into indentured servitude to work in the henequen plantations of the Yucatán.

One of the most recognized writers of the Korean New Wave, Kim Young-ha recuperates this slice of history that had been silenced by all the nations involved – Korea, Japan and Mexico – in his novel Black Flower (2003). In this talk, I examine Kim’s rewriting of history that situates the 1904 Korean migration to Mexico not as a minor episode in Korean national history, but rather as a central event in the transpacific chain that links Korea and Mexico within contemporary global history. The novel’s reconfiguration of global/national history is hinged on two interlinked narrative technologies: first, Black Flower utilizes Japanese imperialism as a ready-made trope to not only construct the idea of a putative Korean nation, but also to directly connect Korean independence to the Mexican revolution; second, the novel ineluctably legitimizes the current discourse of South Korea as a multicultural trans-nation by situating the birth of the Korean modern nation in Latin America and highlighting the mobility and heterogeneity of (Korean) national borders. I contend that the current historical moment in which South Korea is imagined as a global trans-nation and sub-empire calls for a certain recuperation of this transpacific history which places the Korean Mexican indentured worker as the modern subject of the South Korean nation.

Junyoung Verónica Kim is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies, and Latin American Culture and Literature, in the Department of Hispanic Languages & Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. Both transregional and interdisciplinary in scope, her field of research includes Latin American and East Asian media, cultural studies, critical race and gender studies, and immigration history. She has published articles on Asian-Latin American literature, Korean immigration in Argentina, the Global South project and Transpacific Studies. Her book in progress, Asia-Latin America: Transpacific Studies and the Disciplinary Politics of Knowledge, explores the cultural and migratory flows between Latin America and Asia by looking at literature, cinema, and Asian immigration history in Latin America. Currently, she has also started working on a new project tentatively titled The Transpacific Korean War: Intimacies, Biopolitics and Nuclear Diasporas that undertakes an exploration of transpacific relations of labor, militarization, and solidarity that arise during the Korean War.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Junyoung Kim, Assistant Professor of Visual Culture and Media, Latin American Culture and Literature, University of Pittsburgh Junyoung Kim, Assistant Professor of Visual Culture and Media, Latin American Culture and Literature, University of Pittsburgh
Junyoung Kim, Assistant Professor of Visual Culture and Media, Latin American Culture and Literature, University of Pittsburgh

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