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Continuing Orality and the Environment in Contemporary Korean Poetry and P’ansori Performance

Monday, February 3, 2020 at 4:30pm

Rockefeller Hall, 374
Central Campus

Korean Studies Assistant Professor search candidate, Ivanna Sang Een Yi's job talk.

According to legend, master p’ansori (Korean epic dramatic storytelling) singers of the past would sing in front of waterfalls until their vocal cords bled and they could hear their voices over the sound of the water. The acquisition process of the p’ansori voice today involves fewer waterfalls and more cityscapes, occurring primarily in the private studios of master teachers and practice rooms of educational institutions in Seoul. For serious apprentices, the winter and summer break are times for intensive study outside of the city: students travel with their teacher to attend “mountain study” (san kongbu), cultivating their voices in a natural environment in Korea near water, forests, and mountains. Combining close textual and musical analysis with long-term ethnographic fieldwork, this talk conceptualizes the practice of mountain study as a form of pilgrimage and examines how oral performance practices interact with contemporary Korean poetry. I analyze poems by leading contemporary writers Kim Chiha (b. 1941) and Kim Hyesun (b. 1955) through the lens of continuing orality to demonstrate how p’ansori has flourished through transformation in the 20th and 21st centuries.  

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Event Type



Asian Studies, East Asia Program


Ivanna Sang Een Yi

Speaker Affiliation

University of Colorado Boulder

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