CMC Research Brownbag Series: Dr. John Esperjesi | 21 April 2015 10:30am CMC Auditorium


The Office of Research and Publication, College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines Diliman will host a lecture, "Korean War Films: From Unending War to the Peace Movement," on April 21, 2015, 10:30am - 12:00nn at CMC Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Seats are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. But the organizers would appreciate an email to expressing intent to come.

Below are details of the lecture.

The paper represents my current research into representations of the Korean War in both US and South Korean culture. Hollywood films such as Steel Helmet (Samuel Fuller 1951) and The Bridges at Toko-Ri (Mark Robson 1954), and South Korean films such as Welcome to the Dongmakgol (Park Kwang-hyun 2005) and The Front Line (Jang Hoon 2011), all incorporate to varying degrees the defining features of the antiwar film. Through the practice of contrapuntal reading between these films, ethical and political questions can be raised and addressed in ways that they might not when the texts under analysis are fixed within a specific historical period and national tradition and then regulated by a geographically bounded discipline such as Korean Studies or American Studies. The ethical question raised by Korean antiwar films is the question of peace. The political question involves the question of action, of ending the unending war. “Comparativism in extremis,” Spivak argues, is a “political gesture when response . . . is denied” (616). As President Obama’s speech commemorating the signing of the Armistice Agreement revealed, hegemonic discourse about the Korean War in the United States renders the question of a peace agreement unthinkable, denying the question in advance by declaring that the war was won. Changing the terms of the debate about the Korean War thus involves working to get the question of a peace agreement back on the table. Antiwar films can help in that effort.
About the presenter
John R. Eperjesi is an Associate Professor of Literature at Kyung Hee University in Seoul. He received his Ph.D in the Literary and Cultural Theory program at Carnegie Mellon University, and is the author of The Imperialist Imaginary: Visions of Asia and the Pacific in American Culture (University Press of New England, 2005). He has published articles and book reviews in Amerasia, Asian Studies Review, boundary 2, The Contemporary Pacific, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Korea Journal, Minnesota Review, Pacific Historical Review, and is currently working on a new book on representations of the Korean War in U.S. and South Korean culture.