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[Colloquium] The Sewol Square: Sublimation, Hatred, and Singularity (4/20)

March 27, 2023

The Center for Korea Studies welcomes Professor Hyun Ok Park (York University) to discuss her new work, The Sewŏl Square: Sublimation, Hatred, and Singularity. The colloquium will take place on Thursday, April 20, from 3:30-5:30pm in Thomson Hall 317.

Please visit our Eventbrite page to register or follow the QR code below:

The repressed desire to name “the real power” (silse) hidden behind the state and its legal apparatus rendered the iconic candlelight impeachment protest of 2016-2017 a pursuit of not just the prosecution of the corrupt president and her advisor but also an unveiling of the true face of democracy and hegemonic activism. The movement to uncover the truth of the 2014 Sewŏl ferry disaster mourns figuratively the failed promise of democracy. Professor Park compares three genres of mourning the disaster that emerged in the Sewŏl movement that occupied Kwanghwamun Square in Seoul (the Sewŏl Square, 2014-2019): sublimation, hatred, and singularity. The first two are the commodity form, the former on the political right and the latter on the political left. As the antithesis of commodification, singularity arises from the practice of indiscipline, noncumulative interaction, and rhizomatic sociability.

Hyun Ok Park is a Professor of Sociology at York University. Before joining York in 2007, she taught at the University of Michigan and New York University. With archival and ethnographic research, her research investigates global capitalism in colonial, industrial, and financial forms, democracy, socialism, and post-socialist transition, especially in terms of the experience of laborers, ethnic and diasporic minorities, and refugees. She engages with the critical theory of modernity and otherness, postcolonialism, and transnational and global history, to which she contributes with her anchored sociological inquiry of capitalism and social change.