Dear Cross-Currents readers,
We are pleased to present you with the twenty-ninth quarterly issue of the open-access e-journal Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review.
In this special issue on “Diasporic Art and Korean Identity,” guest editors Hijoo Son (Phillips Academy) and Jooyeon Rhee (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) have brought together three research articles, a visual essay by photographer Michael Vince Kim, and an interview with visual artist, filmmaker, and professor Y. David Chung (University of Michigan). As explained in the introduction to the issue, the contributors “explore new delineations of the political, social, cultural, and emotional landscapes inhabited by those living in the Korean diaspora.” The articles by Ji-yoon An (University of Tübingen), Iain Sands (Stockholm University), and Hijoo Son analyze films, a live performance, and paintings, respectively. Their analyses present new grounds that “formulate a reading of art that unpacks multiple and multisite narratives beyond the binary of master and counter narratives.”
This issue also includes a review essay by Robert Stolz (New York University) covering three new publications about Japanese imperialism: Japan’s Imperial Underworlds: Intimate Encounters at the Borders of Empire by David R. Ambaras, Outcasts of Empire: Japan’s Rule on Taiwan’s “Savage Border,” 1874–1975 by Paul D. Barclay, and Placing Empire: Travel and the Social Imagination in Imperial Japan by Kate McDonald. All three authors, Stolz notes, “eschew a focus on tairiki rōnin (continental adventurers) and Japanese officials in favor of focusing on citizens and national and colonial subjects and their various negotiations, subjugations, and collaborations with questions of territory, power, and subjectivity.”
In addition, this issue features a second photo essay, “Resurrection City: The Scale of Seoul’s Urban Renewal Process,” created by Jon Dunbar, an editor at The Korea Times. Dunbar’s images and accompanying artist’s statement take us on an unusual tour of the rooftops, abandoned neighborhoods, and construction zones of Seoul and highlight how South Korea’s social problems manifest themselves in unique urban phenomena, a situation he calls “the no-man’s-land of a class-based urban war.” An accompanying essay by Mihye Cho (Singpore University of Technology and Design) provides greater context for the images by tracing the history of the cycle of urban demolition and renewal that has been Seoul’s “development formula” for the past century.
We hope you enjoy reading this issue. As always, we look forward to receiving your feedback. Be sure to register here on our website in order to leave comments for our contributors and join the conversation.
Wen-hsin Yeh and Sungtaek Cho