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Youth for Nation: Culture and Protest in Cold War South Korea (Critical East Asian Humanities Collaboratory)

Apr 26, 2019 @ 12:00 pm

Student protesters at Susong primary schoolIn 1960, South Korean students overthrew the government in the April 19th Students’ Revolution. In this talk, historian Charles Kim (University of Wisconsin – Madison) advances a cultural explanation of that seminal event. After Korea’s liberation from Japanese rule in 1945, and especially after the 1950-1953 Korean War, media and statist texts called upon students to serve the rebuilding nation by emulating the youthful protestors who had participated in the anticolonial resistance movement of March First (1919). This patriotic education inadvertently prepared students for the antigovernment protests of April 19th and helped solidify upstanding youth protest as a cornerstone of national identity.


This talk is sponsored by C21’s Critical East Asian Humanities Reading Group, the Department of History and the Asian Studies Certificate Program.


About the Author:

Charles Kim is a cultural historian and Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. His first book, on which this talk is based, Youth for Nation: Culture and Protest in Cold War South Korea, documents the country’s transition from Korean War combat to the authoritarian developmental era.


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