Trauma and Westernization: Embodied Exclusion in Korean/Korean American Women’s Literature(NeMLA Panel) (NeMLA March 2024)
Event: NeMLA March 2024
Shirley Geok-lin Lim claimed, “My Westernization took place in my body.” This panel seeks to theorize the female Korean American body as a racialized and excluded site--a biopolitical site for trauma and haunting. More specifically, we seek to investigate representations of Korean women’s bodies in Korean/Korean American women’s writing and how these representations come to embody fidelity, disloyalty, and/or negotiate multiple affiliations and the movement between allegiances.
As such, this panel asks:
How is the Korean female figure situated between Westernization/Americanization and Asian alliances?
How is sexuality performed by these figures and how does it mark a conflict between tradition and progress? And why is that binary problematic?
How does their sexual expression challenge their sense of racial and ethnic belonging?
Does sexual empowerment serve as resistance to existing repressive norms?
How do all these negotiations impact citizenship and belonging?
Are these representations vehicles through/by which postcolonial and diasporic trauma is articulated??
Does the body represent a sexualized and feminized nation?
What are the haunted histories and locations of the Korean American experience in the literary field and in the American field of cultural production??
How does the narrator serve as a cultural translator?
Are hauntings the vehicle by which the politics of the body are negotiated??
What are the limits of Western critical approaches to literary representations in Asian American studies?