Korean Literature and Culture in the Globalizing World
February 23, 2018
Location: Phillips Hall 411 (CCAS Dean's Conference Room)
Speaker: Seong Kon Kim, Professor Emeritus of Seoul National University and President of the Literary Translation Institute of Korea
Abstract: The recent news that Han Kang and Debora Smith won the prestigious Man-Booker International Prize greatly elated the Korean people. Thanks to Han Kang’s prize-winning novel “The Vegetarian,” Korean literature is finally in the limelight, receiving its fair share of praise from the international community at last. Recently, The Times Literary Supplement carried an encouraging article entitled “A Glittering Korea.” In the article, Toby Richtig writes that in the U.K. there is a “seemingly insatiable appetite for publication about the Hermit kingdom.” Richtig argues that while North Korea has been busy showing off its military muscle, South Korea has emerged on the global stage as a country of charming literary arts and rich cultural heritage, “enjoying its place in the sun.’ Furthermore, South Korea has emerged into the spotlight of international recognition and admiration for its miraculous economic success, the cutting-edge technology of companies like Samsung, LG and Hyundai, and the widespread Korean cultural phenomena called hallyu, or the Korean Wave. In this lecture, we will delve into what is happening to Korean literature and culture lately, how they manage to be “glittering” overseas, enjoying global popularity across boundaries, and what kind of radical social change South Korea has gone through since the Korean War.
Speaker Bio: Professor Seong-kon Kim, Professor Emeritus of Seoul National University and President of the Literary Translation Institute of Korea (a ministerial appointment with the Government of the Republic of Korea), is currently in residence at GW as CCAS Dean's Global Distinguished Scholar in the Humanities. An internationally renowned author, translator, and literary critic, Professor Kim is widely recognized as a pioneer in postmodernism, post-colonialism, and cultural studies in Korea.