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Korean Pop Culture: The Border Crossing Heroines of Hallyu

By CedarBough T. Saeji/Chew on This: A Series of Artist, Academic, and Choreographic Presentations by World Arts & Cultures Graduate Students and Faculty

Tuesday, April 14, 2009
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
160 Kaufman Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Hallyu, or the Korean Wave, is the name for the transnational popularity of Korean music, film and television shows outside of Korea, particularly in China, Japan and Vietnam but also in Southeast Asia. Saeji has examined media reportage, on-line discussion forums, academic papers on Hallyu and used YouTube where interviews, commercials, music videos and movie clips were widely available to draw a picture of Hallyu that foregrounds the specific type of female stars at the forefront of the border-crossing flows of Korean popular culture.

Saeji began with the question “What led to the success of “My Sassy Girl” (2001),heroine Jeon Jihyeon and the other women of Hallyu?” Using “My Sassy Girl,” one of Hallyu’s early successes as a launching point she examined other Korean real-life Hallyu stars. She argues that “My Sassy Girl,” Jeon Jihyeon, BoA and Harisu are trickster-heroines who are wildly attractive not just to the Korean culture consumer, but more broadly across East Asia because they have shown Korean/East Asian women a new model in which to be a woman. These trickster heroines hold to a moral center, yet tear at the societal models others meekly follow. They are the speakers for a generation of women who don’t believe that personality should be repressed in favor of harmony. As these tricksters challenge the rigid structure of society, society has been forced to change and evolve as a result.

CedarBough T. Saeji has an MA in Korean Studies from Yonsei University in Seoul. She entered the Ph.D. program in Culture and Performance at UCLA in 2007. Although her studies of Korean culture generally focus on preservation of traditional performing arts, heavily impacted by the flow of foreign culture into Korea, here she examines the outward flow of Korean popular culture. CedarBough’s studies of Korean performance emerged from ten years living in Korea.

Chew on This is supported by WAC GSO and the UCLA World Arts & Cultures Department.

Open to the public.

Cost : Free

CedarBough T.Saeji
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