Accepted Paper:

Collaborative life history of transnational Koreans  

Author:

Christian Park (Hanyang University ERICA)

Paper short abstract:

This paper attempts to reconstruct the oral life stories of transnational Koreans using an experimental methodology of oral history called ‘collaborative life history.’ It may reveal a multilayered, dynamic and interconnected lifeworlds of Korean ethnicity embedded in various power relations.

Paper long abstract:

Recently, the term "Korean Diaspora" which denotes an imagined community consists of people of Korean ancestry living outside the Korean peninsula in various countries around the world and sharing a common national or ethnic identity is receiving critical attentions as a significant number of them is not living outside but has returned to South Korea while maintaining transnational networks of family and socio-economic ties.

This paper attempts to reconstruct the oral life stories of ethnic Koreans from various regions like China, Sakhalin, and North Korea and South Koreans who were displaced and marginalized using an experimental methodology of oral history called 'collaborative life history.' The aim of the collaborative life history to move away from state narratives or official ideological cold war histories and go beyond the dichotomy of abroad (them) and homeland (us). Collaborative life histories of transnational Koreans will bring forth multi-vocality and multi-positionality of Koreans who crossed multiple borders by force or voluntarily and critically re-examine the current understanding of multiculturalism in South Korea by affirming the diversity and transnationality of Korean ethnicity. Examining the transnational lives of Koreans through their collaborative life histories may reveal a multilayered, dynamic and interconnected lifeworlds embedded in various power relations such as colonialism, post-colonialism, cold war politics, and post-socialism. It is hoped that such an effort will shed some light on the future of inter-Korean relations, South Korean multicultural society, and East Asian community building.

Panel P079
Transnational history and multicultural identities of (ethnic) Koreans