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Contentious Kwangju: The May 18th Uprising in Korea’s Past and Present

From the publisher’s website:

One of the largest political protests in contemporary Korean history, the May 1980 Kwangju Uprising still exerts a profound, often contested, influence in Korean society. Through a deft combination of personal reflections and academic analysis, Contentious Kwangju offers a comprehensive examination of the multiple, shifting meanings of this seminal event and explains how the memory of Kwangju has affected Korean life from politics to culture. The first half of the book offers highly personal perspectives on the details of the uprising itself, including the Citizens’ Army, the fleeting days of Kwangju citizen autonomy, the activities of American missionaries, and the aftermath following the uprising’s suppression by government forces. The second half provides a wide-ranging scholarly assessment of the impact of Kwangju in South Korea, from democratization and the fate of survivors to regional identity and popular culture, concluding with an examination of Kwangju’s significance in the larger flow of modern Korean history. In keeping with the book’s title, the essays offer competing interpretations of the Kwangju Uprising, yet together provide the most thorough English-language treatment to date of the multifaceted, sweeping significance of this pivotal event.


Introduction: Gi-Wook Shin

Part I: Origins and Development

Chapter 1: The Formation of an “Absolute Community” Jung-woon Choi
Chapter 2: Simin’gun: The Citizens’ Army during the Kwangju Uprising Jong-chul Ahn
Chapter 3: An American Missionary’s View Jean W. Underwood
Chapter 4: Has Kwangju Been Realized? Keun-sik Jung

Part II: Legacy and Representation

Chapter 5: From Heroic Victims to Disabled Survivors: The 5-18 Injured after Twenty Years Linda S. Lewis and Ju-na Byun
Chapter 6: The Kwangju Uprising as a Vehicle of Democratization: A Comparative Perspective Jung-kwan Cho
Chapter 7: Victims and Heroes: Competing Visions of May 18 Don Baker
Chapter 8: Reinventing the Region: The Cultural Politics of Place in Kwangju City and South Cholla Province Sallie Yea
Afterword: Kwangju: The Historical Watershed Kyung Moon Hwang

Entry on here.

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