[KS] Fulbright Forum, Friday, April 22--6:30 p.m.

Dylan Davis dylandavis1 at gmail.com
Thu Apr 7 00:09:12 EDT 2005

Fulbright Forum!!
Fulbright in Seoul (the Korean American Educational Commission) is
pleased to invite you to attend the Fulbright Forum for April, which
will be held on Friday, April 22, 2005, at 6:30 p.m. at the Commission
offices in Mapo.
The speaker this month is Seungsook Moon, Fulbright Senior Research
Scholar and Associate Professor of Sociology at Vassar College. Her
talk, "Making Citizens, Practicing Citizenship: Gender, Class, &
Membership in South Korea" explores the ways in which women and men
define and contest the specific content of citizenship in their daily
lives in the process of their involvement in two grassroots
organizations: Minwuhoe (Democratic Friends Society), a major women's
association, and Ch'amyoyondae (People's Solidarity for Participatory
Democracy), a major civic association whose membership is formally
gender neutral, but actual membership tends to be numerically
dominated by (middle-class) men.  These two organizations are selected
from an array of grassroots associations that came to exist in revived
and expanded civil society in post-1987 Korea for the following
reasons:  First, they are two associations with comparable membership
size of roughly ten to thirteen thousand that would allows her to
study the role of gender and class, in shaping the meanings and
practices of citizenship.  Second, as their names suggest, both
associations have maintained substantive democratization of Korea as
one of their underlying goals.  This self-identification is important
because not all grassroots organizations aim at the democratic
transformation of society.  Established in 1987, Minwuhoe is one of
oldest women's associations with a feminist orientation that has
reached out to working women and housewives.  Formed in 1994,
Ch'amyoyondae has promoted grassroots participation in monitoring the
working of such powerful social institutions as the state, business
corporations, and the mass media, and the building of solidarity among
social minorities.

Focusing on the substantive content of citizenship, her research
examines the construction of the category of citizen rather than to
take it for granted as a formal status conferred to members of a
modern nation state.  This approach allows one to explore citizenship
as an expression of human agency embedded in a specific cultural
context.  This recognition of culture, tied to history and social
practices, in the making of citizenship can contribute to the
decolonization of the global production of knowledge concerning
democracy and thereby facilitate genuinely mutual understanding
between peoples across national and cultural boundaries.  Popular and
academic debates on democracy have been often dominated by the
culturalist argument that democracy is a Western concept and peoples
elsewhere lack cultural underpinnings for the development and
practices of democracy. A current example of this type of argument is
frequently seen in the public discourse on democracy in Iraq and in
the Middle East in general.  The problem with this culturalist
argument is that it assumes the fixed cultural boundaries of the West
and the rest of the world and at the same time overlooks historical
and contemporary exchanges of ideas and practices among peoples across
cultural and power differences.  To the extent that we are able to
restore buried or discredited knowledge about numerous cultural
encounters and diffusions, we can appreciate the hybrid nature of any
given culture and a collective identity.
The presentation will be followed by a buffet reception.  If you plan
to attend the lecture and buffet, please R.S.V.P. to Dylan Davis at
executive.assistant at fulbright.or.kr so we can plan accordingly.  We
hope many friends will come to enjoy the lecture, the discussion, and
the food.
Place: Fulbright Building
168-15 Yomni-dong, Mapo-gu
see maps on our website: www.fulbright.or.kr 
Date: Friday, April 22, 2005
Time: 6:30 p.m.  

Jai Ok Shim
Executive Director
Korean American Educational Commission (Fulbright)

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