Day 15 Post Chemo 3/6

Connie's Cancer Journey

After a long wait, finally checked in to my new hospital for the mid evaluation test. To be honest, was feeling kind of jittery about it the whole morning. Got a really bad headache from last night and couldn’t sleep until the wee hours. Headache persisted and gave me a hard time in the morning. As the little one had a fever since yesterday, he was kind of not eating well the whole day and this morning he kind of threw all the food on the floor without taking a bite. To make matters worse, the hospital called around noon and asked if we had seen the message they had sent earlier. Well, we were kind of struggling with the little one not eating well and being sick, so we for one time, did not check the phone at 1130am, which was when the hospital had sent out the admission…

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Location Tragedy: Han Kang’s ‘Human Acts’ and Theresa Cha’s ‘Dictee’

This was submitted as an essay and recieved a first-class mark, as well as edited for the CCLPS Postgraduate Conference at SOAS in 2018.


During the late 20th century and the early 21st century, the world was witness to numerous genocides, massacres and other acts of extreme violence. This period of time was coined by Eva Hoffman as the “era of memory”[1]. While many people were directly involved in these catastrophes, there exists a subsequent generation, referred to as the second generation, that did not personally witness these atrocities.  A second generation member can be the relative of a victim or survivor, as well as one who personally identifies with those who experienced the trauma. Although such violent acts preceded their births, memories of these situations have nevertheless been “transmitted to them so deeply as to seem to constitute memories in their own right”[2].

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The Agency of Female Slaves in the Joseon Legal System

This article was previously published as an essay for the SOAS course “Literary Traditions and Culture of Korea”. It was awarded with a distinction. It has been simplified and shortened for this blog post. 


Painting of a Weaving Scene, by Kim Hong-do (1745-1806)

With the start of the Joseon Dynasty in 1392, Confucianism became the official state ideology that set up a strict class system and introduced gendered ethics. In the 17th and 18th centuries, people began to question the unethical treatment of slaves (nobi) and commoners promoted by Confucian ideals. As the hardships of the lower classes gained acknowledgement from those in the royal court, an influx in petitions by slave and commoner women were written. Significant changes in the Joseon legal system can be seen after 1730, when the state introduced a matrilineal law that provided the offspring of male slaves with commoner status. This began a slow route to the abolishment of slavery and heightened social awareness of difficulties slaves and commoners faced.

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The Performance of Korean Sijo

In her article, The How of Literature, scholar Ruth Finnegan states that “all literature is in a sense ‘performed’: the interesting question is more about ‘how’ than ‘whether’”[1]. While most literature textbooks rarely discuss aspects outside of the written word, Finnegan’s work challenges the perceived gap between multimodal performance and unmediated print by claiming that both are essential dimensions to literary studies. The standard definition of literature as a printed text is hereby altered to an umbrella term that incorporates arts and forms outside of the conventional Western understanding. Finnegan’s concepts are worth studying due to their focus on global literature, which legitimises differing cultural methods of expressing art through printed, spoken and other linguistic and stylistic devices. Following this theory in relation to an area of the world that Finnegan has not explored, this article will discuss the use of oral, typographic and communicative performance within Korean sijo poetry. In order to provide deeper textual analysis, the sijo of Hwang Jin-yi will be examined.

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The Past as Present: Postmemory in South Korean Contemporary Art

This article was previously submitted as a curatorial proposal for the course Contemporary Art and the Global. Please note that this is not a potential exhibition, but merely a practice proposal. 

Curatorial Proposal:

The Past as Present: Examining Postmemory in South Korean Contemporary Art

The Past as Present: Examining Postmemory in South Korean Contemporary Art is an exhibition of promising contemporary artists whose work observes postmemory trauma in 20th century Korean history. Through the mediums of performance, video, and installation, this exhibition inspires dialogue about the past that can help to explore present day society and brings the discussion of human rights to the forefront.

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Literature and Film in Cold War South Korea


Theodore Hughes’ book, Literature and Film in Cold War South Korea, embraces the ways in which the country’s writers, critics, artists and filmmakers from the mid-1930s to the early 1970s negotiated the formation of separate cultural fields between North and South Korea.

This separation came was embellished through proscription on leftist cultural work, the erasure of the late colonial mass culture of mobilisation, and the emergence of the United States as the Cold War metropole.

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Calling All Korean Studies Scholars!

Are you a scholar of Korea?

Albeit a widespread consumption of Kpop, Kdrama and Korean food sweeping the globe, KAAS aims to promote the lesser discussed, but considerably more fundamental aspects of Korean culture: art, archaeology, history, and literature… to name a few.

KAAS is an open space designed for scholars of Korea (of all ages and backgrounds) to share their work and engage in creative discussion. If you are interested in publishing your content online, but have no place to post, please consider using KAAS as a platform for your respective research.

Submissions can be sent through the contact page in the Main Menu and a reply will be sent shortly.

KAAS looks for posts regarding topics such as:

  • Contemporary and Modern Art
  • Archaeology
  • Modern and Ancient Literature
  • Historical Research
  • Cultural Research (Food, Dress, Design, Etc.)

If you are interested in sharing your work, but your content does not match the suggestions above, please do still feel free to get in touch.

Thank you!

Who was the real Park Yeol? + Anarchist from Colony (박열) Film Review

It’s a name that doesn’t read well in English: Anarchist from Colony. Nonetheless, the film title does something to draw you in.

Anarchy? Colonisation? Sounds juicy…

and believe me, it is. 

Continue reading “Who was the real Park Yeol? + Anarchist from Colony (박열) Film Review”

Expressing Displacement: South Korean Women in Contemporary Photographic Art

This piece of writing was previously submitted as an essay for the SOAS course ‘Modern and Contemporary Korean Art’. It has been edited and shortened to fit an article format. 

Written by: Allison Needels

The late 20th century brought about drastic changes to South Korea that would alter its political, cultural and economic characteristics. In 1987, the shift from authoritarianism to a more structured democracy led in the pursuit of stronger international relations. Additionally, the 1988 Seoul Olympics also allowed for the nation’s diplomatic horizons to normalize and for its economy to globalise, paving the way for the country to be internationally recognized as an industrialized nation by the start of the 21st century. South Korea was no longer viewed in negative terms due to its relationship with North Korea or Japanese colonisation, but rather as an independent state with a personal agenda for progression. Despite these positive transitions, it was in 1997 that the IMF (International Monetary Fund) crisis occurred, affecting the South Korean economy and its national patriotism. Since this event, many South Koreans have expressed increasing fatigue and hopelessness about their socio-economic status. Although new work opportunities have become available, temporary and underpaid jobs have aligned with one of the world’s longest working hours[1]. With these changes, South Koreans around the globe began to question their national identity.

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Yi Kwangsu’s “The Heartless” and the Origins of Modern Literature: A Literature Summary

The following information was provided as a summary for Michael D. Shin’s article, “Interior Landscapes: Yi Kwangsu’s ‘The Heartless’ and the Origins of Modern Literature”. Shin’s article is a very well written and thought-out piece that helped explain numerous terms associated with modern Korean literature, particularly those related to the infamous Yi Kwangsu.

Written by: Allison Needels

“Yi Kwangsu is like a wound that grows more painful the more one touches it.”

–Kim Hyon

Yi Kwangsu (1892-1950) is said to be the author of the first mature modern novel in Choseon*. He was a part of the ‘sin sosol’ (new novel) movement from 1905 to 1910, which marked a transitional stage between classic and modern literature in Choseon. Yi’s work followed themes of melodrama and pulp fiction, as he avoided politics to instead write about social issues of the time, such as arranged marriage and the negative aspects of Confucian values. Yi was also an advocate of writing in the vernacular, as he wanted his stories to seem vivid and relatable to Korean audiences. However, Yi was arrested in 1949 due to his pro-Japanese gradualist political writings of the 1920s and for his collaboration with colonial authorities in the 1940s. This marked the end of one of the best-known authors of Korea’s modern era. To this day, scholars are still fixated on how a nationalistic writer became a collaborator with the coloniser.

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