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Radical Future: Gender and Science Fiction in Contemporary Korea

Friday, May 5, 2023 at 4:45pm to 6:15pm

Virtual Event

by Ji-Eun Lee (Associate Professor in East Asian Languages and Cultures, Washington University in St. Louis)

As post Korean War South Korea strived to become a global manufacturer of electronics and mundane commodities, Science Fiction has been perceived less as a genre than as educational material for boys, something that would instill nationalistic ambition given science and technology's promise as a way out of the country’s poverty. Even after Korea’s rise as a global economic powerhouse in the 1990s, SF remained a minor genre domestically. Considering its humble origin story, the current rise and popularity of SF in South Korea is remarkable for several reasons, but perhaps the most striking is that it is led by woman writers and young woman readers. This talk will give an introduction to the current phenomenon of Korean SF and its relation to feminism with the goal of discerning the contours of Korea's own SF impulse and the energies behind it. The talk will explore works by Kim Bo-young (b.1975), Chung Se-rang (b.1984), and Kim Choyeop (b.1993), three bestselling woman writers who have spearheaded the trend, and will examine the social, historical, and cultural environment in which their works arose. It thus considers how SF and Fantasy answers some feminist calls for a world differently imagined and constructed. In this consideration, it views the emergent SF genre and its indigenous roots in Korea as an independent tradition, one that developed separately from the Western / American / European SF tradition.


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Event Type



Asian Studies, Comparative Literature, East Asia Program, Asian American Studies Program, Asian & Asian American Center, China and Asia-Pacific Studies


cascal, Graduate Students, East Asia program, Einaudi, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Einaudi Center, asianstudiescal, fgsscal



Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Amala lane


Ji-Eun Lee

Speaker Affiliation

Washington University in St. Louis

Speaker Web Site

Dept. Web Site

Disability Access Information

We are happy to provide accessibility support with advance notice

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Open To


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