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IKS Lecture: Merose Hwang, "What’s the History Lesson? 4.3 Incident Imagined, Memorialized (and Repeated?)”

The Institute for Korean Studies presents:

Merose Hwang
Assistant Professor
Hiram College

"What’s the History Lesson? 4.3 Incident Imagined, Memorialized (and Repeated?)” 

Abstract: People around the world watched as the Berlin Wall fell, effectively ending the Cold War in 1989. But is the Cold War really over when Korea remains the last vestige of such divided nations? Investigating Korean War beginnings is tantamount to understanding divisional conflicts today. Some have referred to the Korean War as a forgotten war. What is lesser known are the purges that occurred south of the 38th parallel in the years leading up to this war. This talk will discuss Hyŏn Ki-yŏng’s novel, Sun-i samch’on as the first literary work to explore a US-backed “communist” purge on Cheju Island, prior to the Korean War. We will explore how Hyŏn’s novel acted as a catalyst for uncovering a silenced history of Cold War genocide; the work done by local anthropologists, shamans, and surviving families to erect public memorials; and lastly what the post-memorial designation of Cheju as a “Peace Island” means in the face of future military aggression.

Free and open to the public. Click here for more information.