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Colonial legacies and Cold War Trajectories: Contact Zones and Boundaries in Japanese and Korean Literature

Sat, June 25, 5:00 to 6:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 121

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


In recent years, a new comparative literature has emerged that studies East Asian literature intra-regionally in terms of common histories, contents and styles, instead of confining itself to strict national borders. This panel locates literature from Japan and the two Koreas within this framework of an East Asian comparative literature and seeks to examine discursive continuities and breaks from the colonial past in addition to tracing the emergence of new discourses from 1945 to the 1960s. In particular, it will shed light on the various processes of memory and collective identity formation in relation to the respective national Others in the literature of the three countries as they find themselves the battleground of the Cold War clash of ideological systems.
In detail, Berthelier looks at the post-liberation popular culture movement in North Korea and examines how the identities of workers and peasants were constructed by the writers who claimed to speak for them. Meanwhile, Wada examines the logic of vengeance as socialist practice formed during the Korean War in the North Korean literature, connecting it with the discursive legacy of proletarian literature from the colonial period. Kim argues that Japanese and South Koreans authors writing within the postcolonial-Cold War system used guilt as an acceptable way to make themselves subjects who bear responsibility. Finally, Bachem explores the representation of colonial Korea in South Korean and Japanese short fiction and shows how a nostalgic view on the Korean landscape serves to perpetuate postcolonial perceptions of ethnonational identity in both countries.

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