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Crash Landing on Love

Thu June 1, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT

Crash Landing on Love

Korea: Unity or Division

Views from South Korean Pop Culture

A Public Lecture by Professor Stephen J. Epstein

Asian Languages and Cultures Program at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Time: Thurs., June 1, 7-8:30 p.m.

Location: The Friends room, Friends Meeting at Cambridge

5 Longfellow Park (off Brattle Street 1/3 mile out of Harvard Square), Cambridge MA 02138


Korea: Unity or Division – Views from South Korean Pop Culture examines how South Korean images of North Korea have evolved in recent years. How does South Korean popular culture reflect that evolution and, in turn, shape ongoing transformations in the understanding of its neighbor? These questions have significant policy implications especially amidst the turbulent dynamics that characterize relations between the two countries: is the South Korean imagination making room for an inclusive but heterogeneous identity that accepts both parts of the divided nation? Or, is a hardening of mental boundaries emphasizing cultural/social difference? In examining these questions, the talk will consider some important cultural texts in which South Korean imaginations of North Korea have expressed themselves, such as recent spy films, entertainment shows involving defectors, and the hit Netflix drama Crash Landing on You.

Stephen Epstein directs the Asian Languages and Cultures Program at Victoria University of Wellington. His research focuses on contemporary Korean society and popular culture, and he has translated several works of Korean and Indonesian fiction. Recent books include the co-edited volumes The Korean Wave: A Sourcebook, (Academy of Korean Studies Press, 2016, with Yun Mi Hwang) and Popular Culture and the Transformation of Japan-Korea Relations (Routledge, 2020, with Rumi Sakamoto). His translation of Intan Paramaditha’s novel The Wandering: A Red Shoes Adventure appeared on Harvill Secker in 2020. He has also co-produced two documentaries on the Korean underground music scene with Timothy Tangherlini (Our Nation: A Korean Punk Rock Community, 2001; Us and Them: Korean Indie Rock in a K-pop World, 2014) and served as the 2013-14 president of the New Zealand Asian Studies Society.

Cosponsored by: The New England Korea Peace Campaign, Massachusetts Peace Action, and Friends Meeting at Cambridge

Please wear a mask to the event for everyone’s protection.

If you cannot attend in person, write korea@masspeaceaction.org to access a recording.


Thu June 1, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT
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Friends Meeting at Cambridge
5 Longfellow Park
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