Queer Korea

Queer Korea

Perverse Modernities: A Series Edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe

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Book Pages: 400 Illustrations: 10 illustrations Published: February 2020

Asian Studies > East Asia, Gender and Sexuality > Queer Theory, History > Asian History

Since the end of the nineteenth century, the Korean people have faced successive waves of foreign domination, authoritarian regimes, forced dispersal, and divided development. Throughout these turbulent times, “queer” Koreans were ignored, minimized, and erased in narratives of their modern nation, East Asia, and the wider world. This interdisciplinary volume challenges such marginalization through critical analyses of non-normative sexuality and gender variance. Considering both personal and collective forces, contributors extend individualized notions of queer neoliberalism beyond those typically set in Western queer theory. Along the way, they recount a range of illuminating topics, from shamanic rituals during the colonial era and B-grade comedy films under Cold War dictatorship to toxic masculinity in today’s South Korean military and transgender confrontations with the resident registration system. More broadly, Queer Korea offers readers new ways of understanding the limits and possibilities of human liberation under exclusionary conditions of modernity in Asia and beyond.

Contributors. Pei Jean Chen, John (Song Pae) Cho, Chung-kang Kim, Timothy Gitzen, Todd A. Henry, Merose Hwang, Ruin, Layoung Shin, Shin-ae Ha, John Whittier Treat


“A fascinating and pathbreaking work of scholarship that combines historical, social science, and cultural analysis to shatter a host of shibboleths about Korean sexuality and relationships, gives voice to the voiceless, and brings Korean queerness fully into the mainstream of Korean and East Asian studies!” — Carter J. Eckert, author of Park Chung Hee and Modern Korea: The Roots of Militarism, 1866–1945

“The contributors elegantly limn the messy boundaries and porous enclosures of the heteronormative and the ‘queer’, putting into sharp relief the relatively unexplored areas of non-normative Korea. Queer Korea is full of remarkable interventions and exciting possibilities, and its contributors deploy Korean cultural and historical experiences for an energized critique of queer theory.” — Martin F. Manalansan IV, author of Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora

Queer Korea is most definitely a work I recommend for those seeking an academic glance at non-heteronormative colonial Korea and modern South Korea, with some contemporary explorations.”

— Hinny Luo, Feminist Encounters

Queer Korea sets a very high standard for future scholarship on Korea that productively engages with queer theory and the globalization of queer studies. With the appearance of this book … teachers too are now well-positioned to offer courses on the intersections of queer culture and modern Korean history.”

— Samuel Perry, European Journal of Korean Studies

"The text has something to offer all students of Korean or Asian studies. Above all, this book succeeds in its primary goal of engaging a queer studies audience seeking to understand the crucial context Korea provides as a site of colonial and postcolonial modernity." — S. G. Jug, Choice


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Price: $29.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Todd A. Henry is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego, and author of Assimilating Seoul: Japanese Rule and the Politics of Public Space in Colonial Korea, 1910–1945.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction. Queer Korea: Toward a Field of Engagement / Todd A. Henry  1
Part I. Unruly Subjects Under Colonial and Postcolonial Modernity
1. Ritual Specialists in Colonial Drag: Shamanic Interventions in 1920s Korea / Merose Hwang  55
2. Telling Queer Time in a Straight Empire: Yi Sang's "Wings" (1936) / John Whittier Treat  90
3. Problematizing Love: The Intimate Event and Same-Sex Love in Colonial Korea / Pei Jean Chen  117
4. Femininity under the Wartime System and the Symptomacity of Female Same-Sex Love / Shin-ae Ha (Translated by Kyunghee Eo) 146
5. A Female-Dressed Man Sings a National Epic: The Film Male Kisaeng and the Politics of Gender and Sexuality in 1960s South Korea / Chung-kang Kim  175
6. Queer Lives as Cautionary Tales: Female Homoeroticism and the Heteropatriarchal Imagination of Authoritarian South Korea / Todd A. Henry  205
Part II. Citizens, Consumers, Soldiers, and Activists in Postauthoritarian Times
7. The Three Faces of South Korea's Male Homosexuality: Pogal, Iban and Neoliberal Gay / John (Song Pae) Cho  263
8. Avoiding T'ibu (Obvious Butchness): Invisibility as a Survival Strategy among Young Queer Women in South Korea / Layoung Shin  295
9. Ripples of Trauma: Queer Bodies and the Temporality of Violence in the South Korean Military / Timothy Gitzen  323
10. Mobile Numbers and Gender Transitions: The Resident Registration System, the Nation-State, and Trans/gender Identities / Ruin (Translated by Max Balhorn)  357
Contributors  377
Index  379
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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