This conference at the University of Hawai‘i Center for Korean Studies, February 14–15, 2019, will examine the works of more than a dozen noted Korean Women writers. The conference will explore how Korean women writers from the colonial period (1910–1945) to the 1990s articulated their ideas and views about the landmark events in modern Korean historico-political history—Japanese colonial exploitation, post-liberation political and social chaos, the Korean War trauma (1950–1953), and the military government’s oppression (1961–1993)—and their impact on gender identities of Korean women and their social role expectations.

Major writers covered by the program include Na Hye-sŏk (나혜석; 1896–1948), Pak Hwa-sŏng (박화성; 1904–1988), Kang Kyŏng-ae (강경애; 1907–1944), Ch’oe Chŏng-hŭi (최정희; 1912–1990), Han Mu-suk (한무숙; 1918–1993), Kang Sin-jae (강신재 1924–2001), Pak Kyŏng-ni (박경리; 1927–2008), Pak Wan-sŏ (박완서; 1931–2011), O Chŏng-hŭi (오정희; b. 1947), Ch’oe Yun (최윤; b. 1953), and Kim In-suk (김인숙; b. 1963).

Presenters and participants are leading professors and highly recognized specialists in Korean women’s literature, women’s studies, and related fields from Korea and the United States.

The conference program includes five sessions on different thematic categories:

  • Dynamics of gender, class, and colonialism;
  • Impacts of Korean liberation and political/ideological division of Korea on women’s identities and social role expectations;
  • The Korean War and its bearing on the change of women’s status, role, and social expectations;
  • Anti-government, dissident discourses and gender politics of the 1980s; and
  • Women’s social advancement, visibility, and presence in gender/cultural landscapes of 1990s Korea.

Each session will consist of paper presentations (written in both English and Korean) and comments by discussants.

This event is free and open to the public. For further information, including information regarding access for the handicapped, telephone the Center for Korean Studies at (808) 956-7041 send e-mail to the conference organizer, Professor Yung-Hee Kim.