I am working on understanding the pleasure of modernism in the first half of the twentieth century. In particular, I am exploring the representations of class and gender in the feature-length films about Korean culture in the war-mobilization of the Japanese empire (1937–1945). The period in focus garners a scholarly attention as the text (literary and filmic) of the ethnic representation reflects the desire of political economy, through which forgetfulness, self-deception, and the sense of upward-mobility emboldens the feeling of the future-oriented time in the now. More interestingly, these devices of the society for mass consumption masqueraded the hierarchy of capitalist expansion where subcontracting of labour and outright 'war-time' mobilization became a normative practice, and fortified the division in class and gender in the names of particularity and universality. I am interested in how the modernist representations of the Korean society in the time of war-mobilization envisioned political economy, and vice versa, for the totalitarian future of the survival of the fittest.
Keywords: History; cinema and media studies; literature; Korea; nationalism; structure and agency