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Cultures of Yushin: The 1970s in South Korea

November 7-8, 2014
Palmer Commons

As the name of the constitutional reform that inaugurated South Korea’s Fourth Republic (1972-79), Yushinhas become synonymous with the second half of the Park Chung Hee era when extreme political repression was coupled with total mobilization of society under the double imperatives of modernization and development. Existing scholarship on the period has focused on its political and economic dimensions, and given rise to such influential concepts as “developmental dictatorship” (kaebal tokchae) and “mass dictatorship” (taejung tokchae).

Moving beyond the era’s political economy, the conference on Cultures of Yushin: The 1970s in South Koreaseeks to explore the remarkably rich and varied cultural production of the Yushin period in its dynamic, and often ambivalent, relationship to state power. Cultural production is broadly conceived to include literature, film, television, theater, music, art, architecture, animation, comics, advertising, fashion, and sports. We welcome innovative research that complicates familiar terms of opposition between coercion and consent, collaboration and resistance, and high art and popular culture.

Cultures of Yushin: The 1970s in South Korea is the fourth annual conference on contemporary Korea sponsored by the Academy of Korean Studies and the Nam Center for Korean Studies at the University of Michigan. Previous conferences in the series have examined the phenomenon of Hallyu in the age of social media, transgressive practices in Korean society, and the politics of sports.

Papers presented at the Cultures of Yushin: The 1970s in South Korea conference will be considered for inclusion in a peer-reviewed, edited volume of the same title to be published by the University of Michigan Press, as part of Perspectives on Contemporary Korea series. Selected participants will be asked to submit complete papers by September 30, 2014.

The keynote speaker for this event will be Myong Kwan Chi. From 1973 to 1988, Chi authored the influential column, "Dispatches from Korea," for the Japanese monthly Sekai. Writing under the pseudonym "T.K.-sei" to circumvent persecution by authoritarian regimes of Park Chung Hee and Chun Doo Hwan, Chi delivered monthly reports of state violence and democratic ferment in South Korea under military rule, first to Japanese readership, and subsequently to the world. A religion scholar by training, Chi taught at Deokseong Women's University and Hallim University, and has also served as Editor of Sasanggye and Chairman of the Board of Governors of Korean Broadcasting Systems (KBS).

Conference organizers: Youngju Ryu and Nojin Kwak (University of Michigan); John Duncan (University of California, Los Angeles)