Autumn 2017 season of lectures at SOAS

by Events Editor on 3 September, 2017 updated 6 January, 2018

in Event Notices | Talks and seminars

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Here are the seminars announced for the Autumn 2017 season at SOAS.

Check the SOAS website for updates.

29/09/17 Reimagining the Self: North Korean Multiple Migrants’ Remaking Time and Place in Contemporary Japan
Dr Markus Bell
06/10/17 The Confucian (Im)perfection of Renunciation – Implications of holding and abandoning a public position for Joseon literati
Dr. Diana Yuksel
27/10/17 Sejong Institute Cultural Event
TBA
02/11/17 Yi Sang’s Queer Time in Colonial Korea
Prof. John Treat
03/11/17 Korean Film Masterclass with Director Lee Doo-yong
Lee Doo-yong, Mark Morris
17/11/17 Dynamics and Change in Korean Buddhist Rituals
Dr. Marek Zemanek
1/12/17 Language of Melancholia and Mourning in Modern Korean Poetry
Kim Seung-Hee (Poet, and Emeritus Professor, Sogang University)
2/12/17 North Korea and North-East Asian security: Reconciling conflicting national interests
Dr Markus Bell, Professor Kerry Brown, Dr Jim E Hoare, Dr Tat Yan Kong, Dr John Nilsson-Wright, Professor Hazel Smith
8/12/17 TBA
Dr. Collette Balmain

More details below:

Reimagining the Self: North Korean Multiple Migrants’ Remaking Time and Place in Contemporary Japan

Dr Markus Bell
29 September 2017, 5:15 PM – 7:00 PM
Brunei Gallery Room B102

Abstract

Between December 1959 and July 1984 approximately 87,000 Koreans migrated to North Korea from Japan as part of a repatriation project. In the last decade, some 300 men, women, and children have returned to Japan, completing a migratory loop between the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese Archipelago. Multiple migrations generate narratives fragmented by dislocation and relocation and tenuously held together by memories of journey. Such narratives, traversing place, space, and ideology unsettle the migrant’s self-understanding. In this paper I ask who are the repair artists of these fractured life worlds? Sometimes, it is kin. Other times, elements of civil society help to patch together the lives of these individuals. Occasionally, the building and rebuilding of ties to the new home falls on the new arrivals themselves. Within this process memory, and identity are inextricably linked in contributing to the migrant’s renewed sense of belonging.

Based on a year of ethnographic fieldwork in Japan, this paper illustrates the importance of memory to multiple migrants. I discuss cases of ‘natal returnees’- a person born in Japan, who migrated to the DPRK and who now returns to Japan – and ‘imagined returnees’ – individuals born in the DPRK to parents from Japan. I describe how returnees from North Korea reimagine the past in acts of ‘memory play’. This memory play allows them to engage with and reconceptualise connections to people and places that may have previously only existed in their imagination.

Speaker Biography

Markus Bell is a social and cultural anthropologist currently based at the School of East Asian Studies, Sheffield University. His current research uses ethnographic research methods to examine contemporary out-migration from North Korea. Markus is particularly interested in the significance of multiple migrants’ memories of movement and resettlement in shaping a diasporic identity. These issues are contextualised within the larger social processes and historical forces that shaped the latter half of the twentieth century in Northeast Asia, and the epoch defining challenges that continue to cast a long shadow on relations between North Korea, South Korea, and Japan. Markus is currently working on a book manuscript based on his research in Korea and Japan titled, ‘Heaven Across the Water: Migration, Memory, and Identity in North Korea’.

The Confucian (Im)perfection of Renunciation – Implications of holding and abandoning a public position for Joseon literati

Dr. Diana Yuksel
6 October 2017, 5:15 PM – 7:00 PM
Brunei Gallery Room B102

Yi Sang’s Queer Time in Colonial Korea

Prof. John Treat
2 November 2017, 5:15 PM – 7:00 PM
Brunei Gallery Room B102

Abstract

Yi Sang (1910-37), remembered as colonial Korea’s most renowned literary Modernist and famed libertine, was controversial in his own day for what now he is celebrated: his works’ wayward sexuality as well as their avant-garde poetics, all written under the stranglehold of Japanese imperial rule. This lecture will discuss Yi Sang’s signature short story, “Wings” (Nalgae, 1936), and how “time,” as both queer theory and postcolonial criticism propose it, shaped this classic of modern Korean literature.

Speaker Biography

John TreatJohn Whittier Treat is Emeritus Professor at Yale University. He is the author of Writing Ground Zero: Japanese Literature and the Atomic Bomb(Chicago, 1995), Great Mirrors Shattered: Homosexuality, Orientalism and Japan (Oxford, 1999) and a novel, The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House (Big Table Publishing Company, 2015). He has published on authors Yi Kwang-su in the Journal of Asian Studies and Im Hwa in Trans-Humanities; and his work on Chang Hyŏk-chu appears in the University of Hawai’i Press volume The Affect of Difference: Representations of race in East Asian Empire. Treat’s The Rise and Fall of Modern JapaneseLiterature is forthcoming in 2018 from the University of Chicago Press, and he is currently writing a book on pro-Japanese Koreans writers under Japanese rule.

Korean Film Masterclass with Director Lee Doo-yong

Director Lee Doo-yong / Dr Mark Morris
3 November 2017 5:15 – 8:00 PM
Brunei Gallery Room B111

Summary

Throughout his career, Lee Doo-yong films have married artistic achievement with commercial success. He began with the key genre of 1960s ‘Golden Age’ of Korean cinema, melodrama, but soon moved onto taekwondo thrillers inspired by Hong Kong action cinema. Lee also contributed to the creation of new styles of historical drama, including the pastoral erotic genre, while later turning his hand to gritty 1980s versions of melodrama.

The Last Witness (1980), which we are screening at this year’s London Korean Film Festival, may be his most powerful film. But others, such as the historical tragedy Spinning the Tales of Cruelty Towards Women (1983) or the witty and sexy Mulberry (1985), are just as highly regarded today. Our master-class with Lee Doo-yong will be an opportunity to revisit some of the many highlights of his remarkable life and work.

Talk Moderator

Mark Morris is Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. His main teaching and research interests have included Korean cinema, Japanese cinema, modern Japanese fiction, and the social and cultural history of Japan’ s minorities. He is a frequent advisor to the London Korean Film Festival and contributor to Korean film events in London, Cambridge and elsewhere.

Dynamics and Change in Korean Buddhist Rituals

Dr. Marek Zemanek
17 November 2017, 5:15 PM – 7:00 PM
Brunei Gallery room B111

Abstract

In my talk I will address the contemporary ritual scene of Korean Buddhism. Rituals have been a locus where the religious activities of clergy and laity meet. My research focuses especially on the broad category of rituals of death. Korean Buddhist rituals of death inherited or absorbed disparate elements that had developed both inside and outside the Buddhist tradition. Due to historical development of Korean Buddhism, all Buddhist orders today share a common tradition and perform identical rites. Therefore, we do not see diversity among the Buddhist schools or sects, but we can observe difference among actual performances. In the first part of my talk, I will discuss some of the pre-modern and modern influences on formation of contemporary rites. Then, I will talk about the contemporary scene and address the structure and modularity of the rites, ritual change and important factors behind it.

From the data collected in the field, namely through interviews and the study of the mise en scène of various ritual instances, we can see that the Buddhist rituals of death in Korea function in the broader context of what we can perhaps call a “syncretic religious environment.” Nearly two millennia of coexistence have created a universal cosmological “metaframework” in which traditional Korean religious systems function. The fieldwork revealed a rich spectrum of ritual participants, who are not only involved in performance of the rituals but who are also involved in the processes of ritual change, criticism and bricolage.

Speaker Biography

Marek Zemánek teaches at the Charles University, Prague, in the Korean Studies Seminar of the Institute of East Asian Studies and in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. He studied Korean Studies at the Charles University, Buddhist Studies at Dongguk Univesity and Religious Studies at Seoul National University and Charles University. His research focuses on Korean Buddhism both contemporary and pre-modern and Korean religions in general, especially on religious rituals in contemporary Korea.

Language of Melancholia and Mourning in Modern Korean Poetry

Kim Seung-Hee (Poet, and Emeritus Professor, Sogang University)
1 December 2017, 5:15 PM – 7:00 PM
Brunei Gallery Room B111

Abstract

What can poetry do before the disaster of loss? What can poetry do in a time of disaster?

In this presentation, Kim Seung-Hee will discuss the role of the poet and poetry in the face of personal and collective loss and trauma. Drawing examples from Korean history (civil war, military dictatorship, popular uprising, and more recently, the Sewol ferry disaster) and poets (Ko Un, Park In-Hwan, Ko Jeong-Hui, and Lee Yeong-Gwang), the talk will examine the language of melancholia and the power of mourning in modern poetry.

Speaker Biography

Kim Seung-heeKim Seung-Hee is a critically acclaimed poet and Emeritus Professor of Korean literature at Sogang University. She made her official literary debut with her poem, “Kŭrim sok ŭi mul” (Water in the Painting) in 1973, and also gained recognition as a fiction writer with her short story, “Sant’ap’e ro kanŭn saram” (On the Way to Santa Fe) in 1994. In addition to essays, short stories and a novel, she has published nine volumes of poetry: Sun Mass (1979), Concerto for the Left Hand (1983), Love Song for Incompletion (1987), Life within an Egg (1989), How Shall I Get Out? (1991), The Heaviest Struggle in the World (1995), Laughter Flying on a Broomstick (2000), Pots Banging (2006), and Hope is Lonesome (2012). Her accolades include theKyunghyang Shinmun’s New Writers’ Award (1973), Sowol Poetry Prize (1991), Ko Jeong-Hee Literature Award (2003), and Korea’s This Year’s Art Awards (2006). Collections of her poetry in English translation include I Want to Hijack an Airplane(Homa & Sekey, 2004) and Walking on a Washing Line (EAS Cornell University Press, 2011).

North Korea and North-East Asian security: Reconciling conflicting national interests

Separate notice and details here.

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