K-drama, K-pop, K-beauty, K-fashion, K-food. What does it mean, today, to attach a “K-“ prefix? The “K-“ has become a ubiquitous signal, for netizens, consumers, and academics alike, that marks something—anything—understood to be ostensibly South Korean in terms of origin, affiliation, or character. Despite its catchiness and convenience, the use of K-rhetoric has raised significant questions regarding potential assumptions of cultural authenticity, reinforcement of essentialist categories, complicated relationships to global power structures, and more.
In an atmosphere of questioning, debate, and new directions, this panel seeks to provide a current and forward-thinking picture of “K-“rhetoric in an interdisciplinary context. We welcome papers that consider the “K-“enterprise in any area of Korean Studies, including but not limited to literature, film and television, music culture, cultural studies, and new media. Where, how, and why are we still using K-rhetoric in our work? What’s next, and/or what alternatives do we have for articulating and expressing what we do? Where do we find K-rhetoric in other political, social, or cultural contexts beyond the academy, and what are the implications of those conversations? We welcome papers that address or utilize K-rhetoric in any discipline or field where K-conversations take place.
We also encourage presentations that consider K-rhetoric in pedagogy: What does it mean to label things with a K- in the classroom, and how can instructors effectively navigate the associated challenges? Presenters may share teaching materials, experiences, pedagogical approaches, and best practices.