Dong-choon Kim on the rise of family-centricism in 1950s South Korea

Dong-choon Kim, Janice C.H. Kim

YCAR was pleased to host Dr. Dong-choon Kim as the first speaker in the Heterogeneity and Korean Identity in the Twentieth-First Century speaker series at York University.

The speaker series will focus on the works of both established senior and groundbreaking junior scholars in the fields of globalization, transnational labour and class in South Korea. It is organized by Professor Janice C.H. Kim (History).

Dong-choon Kim’s  presentation on October 22, “Venues to Heaven’ in a Heartless World: Colleges and Churches in South Korea in the 1950s,” examined the rise of family-centricism in 1950s South Korea. As the end of the Korean War ushered in a period of authoritarianism and only nominal forms of political participation, Koreans invested exclusively in their nuclear families – a trend that can be seen with the expansion of universities and evangelistic churches in South Korea from the 1950s onward. These developments, along with diaspora and US-centric subimperialism, have been formative in shaping South Korean identity in the twenty-first century.

As former Standing Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Republic of Korea, Professor Kim is an activist and public intellectual. His research has focused on historical sociology of Korean politics, working class formation and the Korean War. As an activist, Professor Kim has been at the center of progressive academic movements since the 1980s. He was also awarded the 20th Dan Je Prize in 2005 for his academic achievements and activism. Professor Kim is the author of, among other publications, Social Movements in 1960s Korea (1991), A Study of Korea’s Working Class (1995), Shadow of Modernity (2000), War and Society (2000) and Engine of America-Market and War (2004). War and Society has been translated into German, Japanese, and English (The English language title is The Unending Korean War).

The next speaker in the series is Dr. Hagen Koo (University of Hawai’i, Manoa) who will speak on Korea’s global middle class on 11 November 2014.