Disembodying the other: US-Korea relations as reflected in cultural geography
Kim, Jin hee, (2005) Disembodying the other: US-Korea relations as reflected in cultural geography. SARE (Southeast Asian Review of English) (46 (Special Issue: Asian American Literature)). pp. 70-83. ISSN 0127-046x
Nak-Chung Paik, the most prominent literary critic of South Korea and Professor of English Literature at Seoul National University once described South Korea as a nation threatened by "the pressure of transnational capital and the dominant cosmopolitan culture" (577). The notion of danger displayed in this declaration summarizes the gist of Paik's on-going cultural discourse launched some thirty years ago. This critical approach is based on the belief that South Korea is still a "colonized" or "semi- colonized" nation, having remained under the continuing influence of US politics since the official ending of the Japanese occupation. As a result, South Korea is deprived of its traditional values and is on the verge of losing its cultural identity. Paik opposes not only the interference of foreign governments but also any domestic cultural force that welcomes Western, in particular American, imports. As a corollary to this declaration of a state of emergency, Paik has proposed the cultivation of a "National Literature" to rescue South Koreans from the impending loss of their indigenous values, which he sees as being pushed to the margin. Known as "Minjok munhak" in Korean, which literally means "literature of the (Korean) people," National Literature can be clearly distinguished from the category of Korean literature as an ideological apparatus whose mission is to restore political independence and self-reliance, and eventually to provide South Koreans a means to progressively enrich their cultural values and exercise their views, in short, to de-colonize South Korea.
|Keywords:||US-Korea Relations, Disembodying, South Korea, National literature, Korean literature in English|
|Subjects:||P Language and Literature|
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