A Note to Our Readers

Wen-hsin Yeh, University of California, Berkeley
Sungtaek Cho, Korea University
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December 2013

Dear Cross-Currents readers,

We are pleased to introduce the ninth issue of the Cross-Currents e-journal. The research articles in this special issue guest edited by John Lie (UC Berkeley) are connected by the theme “The Globalization of K-pop: Local and Transnational Articulations of South Korean Popular Music.” These articles by Nissim Otmazgin and Irina Lyan (both of Hebrew University Jerusalem), Ingyu Oh (Korea University), Hyo-Jung Lee (Yongsei University), and Sang-yeon Sung (University of Vienna), along with a contribution by guest editor Lie. Together, they discuss the performance and consumption of Korean popular music in Palestine, Israel, South Korea, Austria, and Japan in order to explore the complex dynamics between local fans and global pop culture.

In this issue, you will also find three review essays. The first, by Ching Kwan Lee (UC Los Angeles), reviews Waikeung Tam’s Legal Mobilization under Authoritarianism: The Case of Post-Colonial Hong Kong and Rachel Stern’s Environmental Litigation in China: A Study in Political Ambivalence, two recent publications that offer refreshing views on law and social change under Chinese authoritarianism, a topic that Lee notes has been marginalized by both the law and society and China studies literatures. Petrus Liu (Yale-NUS College) discusses two recent studies in queer cultural criticism—Lucetta Yip Lo Kam’s Shanghai Lalas: Female Tongzhi Communities and Politics in Urban China and J. Keith Vincent’s Two-Timing Modernity: Homosocial Narrative in Modern Japanese Fiction—that offer contrastive accounts of the formation of queer subjectivities, identities, and historical memories in East Asia. R. Keith Schoppa (Loyola University Maryland) compares two books that probe the sensory experience of war and of coming to terms with catastrophic events never before experienced: Tobie Meyer-Fong’s What Remains: Coming to Terms with Civil War in 19th Century China and Aaron William Moore’s Writing War: Soldiers Record the Japanese Empire.

This quarter’s “Readings from Asia” section features a review by Andre Schmid (University of Toronto) of Jung Byung Wook’s new book Puron yŏlchŏn: Mich’in saenggaggi paetsok esŏ naonda [The biographies of rebellious people in colonial Korea], which to date is available only in Korean. Schmid’s piece provides Cross-Currents readers with an overview of the four “moments,” or “microhistories,” that Jung has selected to recreate a sense of the political dangers during the wartime colonial period. Schmid writes that Jung, who once worked for the National History Compilation Committee editing and collating criminal court proceedings, “uses his familiarity with these records to give readers glimpses into the social, economic, and intellectual lives of a select number of people who have otherwise been lost to historical memory.”

The images featured in “Dance of Anguish: Poetic Texts from 1920s Korea” have been selected for Cross-Currents by Wayne de Fremery (Sogang University) to “suggest the anguished state of Korea’s literary artifacts from the early twentieth century and, by extension, textual studies as they pertain to this period of Korean textual history.” Images of a damaged second edition of Kim Ŏk's translation of mostly French symbolist poetry, Dance of Anguish (Onoe ŭi mudo, 1923) feature prominently. In both his curator’s statement and his research article, “Printshops, Pressmen, and the Poetic Page in Colonial Korea” (also included in this issue), de Fremery calls attention to a situation in which “the human stories suggested by the physical contours of Korea’s early twentieth-century books have gone unrecognized along with how these stories and the physical presence of a text can affect our hermeneutical activities.”

We hope you enjoy reading this issue. As always, we look forward to receiving your feedback. Be sure to register here on the Cross-Currents website in order to leave comments for our contributors and join the conversation.


Wen-hsin Yeh  & Sungtaek Cho