Organized Panel Session
This panel brings together new research in Korean literature to examine the late colonial and post-liberation period as a site of fertile experimentation in what modernity in Korea should be. The panelists explore narratives that provide access to experiences more abstract, sensual and conceptual in nature in an attempt to understand how new social and political structures were navigated in the most personal and private of spaces. Sung Yeun Kim’s paper traces the sensual mode of modernity and city life in an examination of the new olfactory experience of urban colonial Seoul. Illustrating that individualism was both ideal and corporeal, Kim argues that the inhabitants of the colonial city attuned themselves to a sensual regime that placed new ‘modern’ scents above the stench of the old regime. Jiseung Roh’s paper examines the controversial process by which love became translated as women’s liberation in the 1930s under the influence of the Russian Revolution. Dafna Zur’s paper captures an exhilarating moment of state building in early North Korea when science and technology provided the inspiration for development, as well as the means to ‘live well,’ in the new communist society. Ruth Barraclough traces the worlding of North Korean literature through a study of the translation and circulation of Kang Kyŏng-ae’s fiction in the communist bloc during the Cold War. These papers showcase the way in which a liberated modernity involved the import and export of visions of modernity during a dramatic period of transformation and change on the Korean peninsula.