Events: Kritika Kultura Lecture Series presents Sang-Keun Yoo

August 08, 2018

Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University—in cooperation with the Korean Studies Program (AdMU)—will host a lecture by Sang-Keun Yoo. The lecture—titled “Nationalism and Imperialism in K-Pop, K-Drama and South Korean Science Fiction” is on Aug. 16, 2018, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., at Natividad Galang Fajardo (NGF) Room, 1/F de la Costa Bldg., Ateneo de Manila University. The event is open to the public.

About the lecture

Recent products of South Korean culture often juxtapose seemingly contradictory images of nostalgic tradition and technologically developed modernity. For example, Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video shows two old men playing the traditional game Baduk in a rural area after showing scenes with modern architecture and a metro system; one of the most popular 2014 K-dramas, My Love from the Star, also starts with scenes of a rural location in the premodern Joseon period and connects these with shots of the technologically developed present. Moreover, recent popular media in South Korea focuses on time travel-themed science fiction products that also combine these two very different images. By analyzing various cultural examples of K-culture such as K-pop, K-drama, and South Korean science fiction films, this lecture argues for and explains certain tendencies in recent South Korean popular culture in terms of nationalism and South Korea’s postcolonial relationship to the United States’ neo-imperialism. Although previous scholarship has primarily focused on the societal aspect of how viral and dominant contemporary K-culture (also known as Hallyu) is, this lecture delves into how South Korean culture is deeply engaged with building imaginary worlds to construct unitary national narratives, Korea’s international relationships with other Asian countries, and especially with the United States. Although contemporary South Korean culture seems to only highlight technologically developed modernity and futuristic science fiction, the message underlying these fictional images contains the colonial history of Korea and postcolonial resistance to it by using this new genre. By illustrating this, the lecture intends to provide a broader picture of current South Korean popular culture and a deeper understanding of its content. 

About the lecturer

Sang-Keun Yoo is a Ph.D student at the University of California, Riverside and where he is also a lecturer in English and comparative literature. He studied English literature and philosophy for his BA and MA at Seoul National University in South Korea. As a Fulbright scholar, his research areas are the 20thand 21st century American and Asian speculative fiction film and literature, and postcolonial and posthuman theories. He writes non-fiction and fictional works in Korean; his non-fiction book focusing on the Korean education system was published in Seoul and his fiction has been published in Chungsan Literature.

About Kritika Kultura

Kritika Kultura is acknowledged by a host of Asian and Asian American Studies libraries and scholarly networks, and indexed in the MLA International Bibliography, Arts and Humanities Citation Index (Clarivate), Scopus, EBSCO, the Directory of Open Access Journals, and the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP). For inquiries about submission guidelines and future events, visit or email

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