Croft News
October 18, 2018

Croft Visiting Speaker: Surplus Memories? Remediating the Cold War in Web 2.0 South Korea

We Jung Yi, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies at Vanderbilt University

Thursday, October 18, 2018, 7:00 p.m.
Located in Croft 107

How have Cold War icons morphed in the contemporary digital landscape? To examine the dynamics of cultural memory amid expanding technological networks, this talk looks at a South Korean webtoon (web cartoon) that features North Korean spies—a well-worn trope for the long-divided nation. In tracing how the country’s older aesthetics are remediated in the Web 2.0 era, this talk historicizes the sensibility of surplus that connects the webtoon and its major consumers, namely, the millennial generation growing up with mobile communication. Feeling that their lives are rendered useless under neoliberal governance, the precarious youth of this generation empathetically relate to tales of survival, especially about those whose lives have been easily discarded in a society that restricts crossing boundaries of various types from the geopolitical to the socioeconomic.

We Jung Yi is assistant professor of Asian Studies at Vanderbilt University. She is completing a monograph that explores diverse forms of Korean War memories in South Korean cultural history. Her recent works include “The Pleasure of Mourning: Korean War Blockbusters in Post–Cold War South Korea, 1998–2008” (Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Fall 2018) and “Melodramatic Tactics for Survival in the Neoliberal Era: Excess and Justice in The Heirs and My Love from the Star” (Journal of Korean Studies, March 2018).