[KS] Korean bloggers writing in English

Stephen Epstein Stephen.Epstein at vuw.ac.nz
Sun Aug 24 19:44:43 EDT 2008

Dear list members,

I have had similar thoughts to those articulated by John below: given 
the increasing sophistication of the academy regarding the fluidity 
of identity construction, I think we should ask what makes a 
particular blog "Korean." To what extent can one call the "Ask A 
Korean" or "Stuff Korean Moms Like" blogs "Korean", given that, as 
seems to be the case, the authors have been living in the US for 
several years, and received a US education? Is it self-proclamation 
of identity on their part? "Blood"? The passport they carry? ( I 
would hardly be surprised to learn that each carries a USA rather 
than ROK passport.) The fact that they write with reference to 
"Korean" upbringings? Clearly it's not the physical location from 
which their blogs purport to be written.

Indeed, are these blogs more "Korean" than, say, the perceptive 
Scribblings of the Metropolitician? Presumably yes,  given the 
Metropolitician's very considered proclamation of himself as 
"American" and as adding an expat perspective to consideration of 
matters Korean. Nonetheless, he has a Korean mother, he has resided 
in Korea for something like a decade, and I understand that he now 
also operates a separate blog in Korean. But what if he were the 
author of "Stuff Korean Moms Like"? Couldn't that be an "authentic" 
"Korean" perspective on Korean moms?

Let me further complicate the question with an example from more 
traditional media: how does one situate the work of Choe Sang Hun, 
one of the Korea correspondents for the New York Times? I think his 
work is outstanding, and indeed, he has won a Pulitzer. He is 
currently based in Korea, of Korean ethnicity, and a fluent Korean 
speaker. I don't know what his citizenship is. Does his work offer a 
"Korean" perspective? Or because he is working for the flagship 
American newspaper, working with American editors, is his an 
"American" perspective? Are these questions even relevant, or is what 
makes his work noteworthy simply the fact that he is a damn fine 

I just want to throw these questions out to help unpack some of the 
assumptions that may underlie the discussion....


>I am simply left wondering how this thread relates to the earlier 
>thread about the presence or absence of a "Korean position."
>If there is not one, which seemed from my subjective reading to be 
>the opinion of most on the list, then do we need to be worried about 
>Korean bloggers in English. Or, rather, shoul we look for informed 
>and informative bloggers on Korea regardless of their nationality, 
>citizenship, ethnicity, etc.?
>John Frankl

Dr Stephen J Epstein
Asian Studies Institute
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600
Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
Ph. +64 4 463 5703
Fax +64 4 463 5291
Stephen.Epstein at vuw.ac.nz
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