[KS] The 80th Yonsei-KF Korean Studies Forum (Hyuk-Rae Kim, GSIS, Yonsei University)

김혁래 hyukrae at yonsei.ac.kr
Sat Apr 19 10:47:24 EDT 2008

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The Korean Studies Program and the Institute for Modern Korean Studies at the Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University are pleased to invite you to attend the 80th Yonsei-KF Korean Studies Forum, which will be held on Tuesday, April 29th at 6:00 PM in Room 702 of New Millennium Hall at Yonsei University. The speaker is Yoon S. Choi, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine. The title of her talk is “South Korea and the Toliet Revolution.” The abstract of her paper and a brief bio can be found at the end of this email.  
 The presentation will be followed by a dinner reception. I hope you will come to enjoy the presentation, discussion, and reception. Please contact Jennifer Bresnahan at 010-5441-9204, jennifer.bresnahan at gmail.com for further inquiries.  
Hyuk-Rae Kim
Professor of Korean StudiesDirector, Institute for Modern Korean Studies
GSIS, Yonsei University 

            In his inaugural address, newly elected president Myung Bak Lee urged citizens to move from ‘an age of ideology to the age of pragmatism.’ Pragmatism, he argued, “is practical wisdom useful in charting our course through the tides of globalization.” Though the buzzwords have changed, in the last four inaugural addresses, incumbents have consistently focused on boosting Korea’s place in the world. Moreover, for many years, has been the home of a host of organizations involved in the strategic and pragmatic branding of Korea.
            In November, 2007, the World Toilet Association (WTA) was inaugurated in 
            Seoul. Its objective is to save lives through the improvement of toilets throughout the world. Over 1,500 participants representing 66 countries, international and governmental organizations, businesses, and NGOs, gathered to affirm their commitment to this ‘global’ issue. The WTA asserted that the cause and work to be done transcended Korean boundaries or political agendas. The WTA was not about Korea, they agued, but humanitarianism.
            Based upon a year of fieldwork with the WTA, this paper will ground it within a host of other ‘global’ projects in contemporary South Korea. I trace its roots back to Korea’s co-hosting of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, its first post-IMF mega-event, the ‘Korean Wave’ and emphasis on regional cooperation, and the highly mediatized biotechnology scandal in 2005. I analyze the links between soccer, soap operas, stem cells, and toilets, and discuss how these connect to changes—or perhaps lack thereof—made in Korean society, as well as within international discourse related to ‘global’ issues. 


Yoon S. Choi completed her undergraduate studies in English Literature from


College. She also holds an MA in Humanities from NYU, where she focused mainly on globalization, media, national image and how they related to contemporary Korean society (MA Thesis: Riding the Korean Wave: Hanryu and the South Korean Imaginary). Also related to the theme of the mediatization of Korean culture and national image, her work on the 2002 FIFA World Cup ("Football and the South Korean Imagination: and the 2002 World Cup Tournaments." In Football Goes East: Business, Culture, and the People's Game in China, Japan, and South Korea, edited by Wolfram and John Horne Manzenreiter. Oxford: Routledge, 2004) focuses on the various campaigns sponsored by the government to present an IMF-recovered, ‘global’ image of to the world. After entering the Department of Anthropology at UC Irvine, she conducted extensive research in various sites looks at Korea’s various ‘globalization’ projects and the inherent tensions and paradoxes that are involved in the process. Her sites include  Arirang TV, Korea Organization for Asian Culture Exchange, and currently, the World Toilet Association. In addition, she has done significant research on the recent 2005 biotechnology scandal involving defamed scientist, Hwang Woo Suk, and Korea’s online fandom phenomena. 

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