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EAP 2016-17 Distinguished Visiting Professor

Professor Miseong Woo

The 2016-17 Distinguished Visiting Professor in Korean Studies is Professor Miseong Woo of the Department of English Language and Literature, Yonsei University.

Professor Woo taught a course "Korean Modernity and Popular Culture" and participated in activities on the Cornell campus. She also designed a film series "Dispatches from the Korean Peninsula" to show at Cornell Cinema which included a variety of genres from and about both North & South Korea. 

ASIAN 3377 / ASIAN 6677

Miseong Woo received her MA and PhD degrees in Theatre and Drama from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include race, gender, modernity in modern drama, the literary and visual history of Asian diaspora, and cultural encounters between East and West in popular culture.

In 2014, she published Representation of Asian Women in the West (Sam & Parkers), which won the Ministry of Education Award from the Korean government for promoting public knowledge in the field of humanities. She has also written several book chapters, including “Modernity, the Road Not Taken by Asian Women” in Modernity, Women, Narrative (2006) and “The Pioneer Writers of Asian Descent and America’s Early Literary Encounter with East Asia: Sui Sin Far's Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Onoto Watanna's A Japanese Nightingale” in Situations: Cultural Studies in the Asian Context (2013). She is currently working on two new book manuscripts, Asian Masculinity in the West and Korean Modernity and Diasporic Sensibility of Displacement, which are government-subsidized research projects.

In recognition of her dedication to research and teaching, Professor Woo received the Fulbright Scholar Award in 2011 and has won Yonsei University’s Best Teacher Award ten times since she began her teaching career in 2000. From 2008-2011, she served as Chair of the American Studies Program at Yonsei University, and this year, she will be Yonsei University’s first faculty member to be selected for the East Asia Program’s Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Korean Studies at Cornell University.

Korean Studies Workshop - The Critical Turn in Contemporary Korean Culture
Critical Turn Korean Studies Workshop 2016

This workshop was co-sponsored by the Cornell East Asia Program Korean Studies Distinguished Visiting Professorship, BK21 Plus Team of the Department of English of Yonsei University, and the Center for Korean Visual Culture of Institute of Media Arts of Yonsei University. 

Korea emerged as a site of political turmoil at the end of World War II. As one of the divided countries in the world today, the nation has been and still is largely identified with political instability. Ever since the 1990s, however, scholars and critics in the field of Korean Studies have become interested in the cultural production known as hallyu - the Korean cultural wave. As the compressed modernity enabled uneven modernization within just several decades after the Korean War, South Korea has quickly turned from a society importing western cultures to a nation actively producing its own popular culture in global markets. There have been, however, problematic consequences in the country’s rapid establishment of her cultural identity and the politics of aesthetics. The purpose of this workshop is to understand modernity and post-war memory of South Korean society from a critical perspective and how the nation’s imbalanced modernity has affected the production of its popular culture and to examine the critical turning points in the evolution of its cultural contents from the twentieth century to the present.

Colonial/Cold War Subjectivity | Chair: Naoki Sakai – Professor, Asian Studies, Cornell University

  • "Facing Colonial Comrades" - Moonim Baek (Yonsei University)
  • "Film Auteurism as Cold War Governmentality: Alternative Knowledge and the Libertarian Impulse" - Han Sang Kim (Rice University)
  • "Waiting for the History: 'Zainichi' Subjectivity and the Dream of Reunification" Andrew Harding (Cornell University)

Post-war Collective Desire and Gendered Modernity | Chair: Immanuel Kim – Assistant Professor, Asian and Asian American Studies, Binghamton University

  • "Hollywood and Utopian Dreams in Holiday in Seoul (1956)" -Nari Yoon (Cornell University)
  • "The 1970s’ Girls: Innocence, Sexuality and Labour" - Jinhee Choi (King’s College London)

New Wave Auteurism & Global Social Conditions | Chair: Pedro Erber – Assistant Professor, Department of Romance Studies, Cornell University

  • "Take Care of My Cat (Jeong Jae-eun, 1999): The Architectonics of Female Subjectivity in Post-crisis South Korea" - Michelle Cho (McGill University)
  • "Park Chan-wook and Naturalism" - Seung-Hwan Shin (University of Pittsburgh)
  • "Transcending Modern Figures: Women and Body Image in Chan Wook Park’s Thirst and The Handmaiden" - Hee Joo Kim (Yonsei University)
  • "Snowpiercer as Anthropoetics: Killer Capitalism, the Anthropocene, Korean Global Film" - Rob Wilson (University of California Santa Cruz)

Diasporic Sense of Displacement and Collective Discontent | Chair: Miseong Woo – Professor, Department of English, Yonsei University

  • "Memory of Orphanages and Birth of Adoptee Subjects in A Brand New Life (Yeohaengja, 2009) and Approved for Adoption (Couleur de Peau: Miel, 2012)" - Sulhyun Kim (Yonsei University)
  • "Hell-Joseon and Korea's modernity" - Gwanglip Moon (Yonsei University)

Dramatic Formation & Neoliberal Expansion | Chair: Brett de Bary – Professor, Asian Studies, Cornell University

  • "Korean TV Dramas and the Politics of Excess: Melodramatic Tactics in the Neoliberal Era" - We Jung Yi (Pennsylvania State University)
  • "Male Solidarity as Melodramatic Response to Korean Webtoon Misaeng" -Jahyon Park (Cornell University)
  • "Infinite Variety: Reading Muhan Dojeon (Infinite Challenge) as a Madang Guk (Korean Open-Air Theater)" - Kyung Hyun Kim (University of California Irvine)