Christine Kim: Brutalist Imaginary - North Korea through a Minor Transpacific Lens
March 11, 2019
For audiences located in the West, and perhaps beyond, North Korea is a dystopic spectacle that appears ludicrous, terrifying, and tragic. This effect is created through periodic media coverage, films, memoirs, and other cultural representations that fashion North Korea as a cultural fantasy of the inhuman for the West. In this talk, I examine the film The Interview as well as the security concerns surrounding Sony Pictures in order to reflect upon perceptions of North Korea. Given that the film was shot in British Columbia, it also offers a useful opportunity to reflect upon Canada’s position in relation to North Korea and, more specifically, as part of what might be called a ‘minor transpacific’ in order to map the minor histories and cultural flows that connect locations in the Asia Pacific region. This paper takes a minor transpacific as a perspective and a methodology to complicate how North Korea invokes the Cold War for local audiences and to ask what is at stake in popular tendencies to write North Korea in terms that are simultaneously fascinating and horrifying.
Christine Kim is an Associate Professor in the English department at Simon Fraser University. Her teaching and research focus on Asian North American literature and theory, diaspora studies, and cultural studies. She is the author of The Minor Intimacies of Race (University of Illinois Press, 2016) and co-editor of Cultural Grammars of Nation, Diaspora and Indigeneity (Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2012). She has contributed chapters to essay collections on Asian Canadian literature and theatre and published articles in Interventions, Mosaic, Studies in Canadian Literature, and Journal of Intercultural Studies. Christine is co-director of SFU’s Institute of Transpacific Cultural Research. Currently she is working on a SSHRC funded book-length project on representations of North Korea, cultural fantasies, and Cold War legacies.