Introduction to "(De)Memorializing the Korean War: A Critical Intervention"

Suzy Kim, Rutgers University
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The purpose of this special issue is twofold: first, to engage in a critical intervention into the memorialization of the Korean War among the chief participants—the two Koreas, the United States, and China—to disrupt monolithic understandings of its origins, consequences, and experiences; and second, to do so as a necessary step toward reconciliation by placing divergent public memorials in conversation with one another. The collection of articles presented here pursues a comparative study of Korean War memorials and museums through a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, from sociology and history to ethnic studies and comparative literature, and brings together scholars in North America and South Korea. Not only does it incorporate the different positionalities from which scholars located across the Pacific think through the memorialization of the Korean War, but the different disciplinary strengths highlight the importance of connecting the macro with the micro, visuality with narrativity, and Asia with America. The collection also deliberately challenges the contained history of the Korean War that limits it to a three-year period between 1950 and 1953 by including the five years leading up to the war and explicitly exploring the way in which the unended war continues today....