Rice University Department of Religion

Han Sang Kim - Film Auterism as Cold War Governmentality: A Korean Case - TARI Seminar Series, March 24, 2017, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Seminar

Chao Center for Asian Studies

Speaker:
Han Sang Kim
Annette and Hugh Gragg Postdoctoral Fellow in Transnational Asian Studies

Location:
Mechanical Laboratory
209

Abstract:
Ha Kil-chong, a well-known film director and critic in the 1970s, wrote an essay in which he stated that he lived in negative times since film was still not “an art form of the individual” and had to function as “a collaborator or companion to policy issues.” This recognition of the artistic self in binary opposition has a certain similarity to the views of many of his seniors in the field. These seniors were hired by or were under considerable influence of American propaganda machines during the Cold War. They, including Ha, acquired alternative knowledge to pursue an artist path through their meaningful exposure to the American film culture. This paper theorizes the specific type of subjectivity that was constructed through these Korean filmmakers’ intense, but ambivalent, relationship with the outside world in a Cold War setting. Focusing on their attitudes toward film as an art form, this paper suggests that their self-recognition as auteurs was related to the technology of Cold War governmentality that led to the construction of a libertarian subjectivity—a well-educated male subject with free will—which was then optimized to the neoliberal paradigm with the demise of the Cold War in the late 1980s.

Grand challenges today in politics, economics, social justice, immigration, armed conflicts, and environment are creating an overlapping effect between the Asian and the global, making it necessary that the existing framework for Asia Studies be re-crafted. Intensifying flows of people, goods, ideas, and cultures within Asia and between Asia and the rest of the world are calling for a new approach to Asia from a transnational and transhistorical perspective. The Chao Center’s new research initiative, the Transnational Asia Research Initiative (TARI), brings together scholars from a broad spectrum of disciplines and methodologies as postdoctoral fellows to address this complexity. Throughout the academic year, each fellow will host a seminar to share their unique research and perspective.

All seminars are free and open to the public. You provide the brown bag and we'll provide the coffee! No RSVP is necessary.

Han Sang Kim
Han Sang Kim received his PhD in historical sociology from Seoul National University. He is working on two concurrent projects. One is to develop his dissertation, Uneven Screens, Contested Identities: USIS, Cultural Films, and the National Imaginary in South Korea, 1945-1972, into a book manuscript on knowledge, culture, and identity in the postwar division system in East Asia. For the other project, he is writing a manuscript on the association between cinema and transportation mobility in 20th century Korea, based on his pre-doctoral research, to complete as his first book in English. He has developed and taught a number of courses on modern Korean culture at UC San Diego and Boston University.