4/2 Cold War Cosmopolitanism: Period Style in 1950s Korean Cinema

GW Institute for Korean Studies

The GW Institute for Korean Studies Presents:

Soh Jaipil Lecture Series

Cold War Cosmopolitanism: Period Style in 1950s Korean Cinema


Christina Klein, Associate Professor of English and Director of American Studies, Boston College


Immanuel Kim, Korea Foundation and Kim-Renaud Associate Professor of Korean Literature and Culture Studies,
the George Washington University


Thursday, April 2, 2020
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Room 505, Elliott School of International Affairs,
the George Washington University, 1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052


Event Description

South Korea in the 1950s was home to a burgeoning film culture, one of the many “Golden Age cinemas” that flourished in Asia during the postwar years. Cold War Cosmopolitanism offers a transnational cultural history of South Korean film style in this period, focusing on the works of Han Hyung-mo, director of the era’s most glamorous and popular women’s pictures, including the blockbuster Madame Freedom (1956). Christina Klein provides a unique approach to the study of film style, illuminating how Han’s films took shape within a “free world” network of aesthetic and material ties created by the legacies of Japanese colonialism, the construction of US military bases, the waging of the cultural Cold War, the forging of regional political alliances, and the import of popular cultures from around the world.


Christina Klein holds a BA in Film Studies from Wesleyan and Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale. In addition to her new book, Cold War Cosmopolitanism, which was just published by the University of California Press, she is the author of Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961 (California, 2003). Her articles on Korean and other Asian cinemas have been published in The Journal of Korean Studies, Transnational Cinemas, American Quarterly, Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Comparative American Studies, and Cinema Journal. She teaches film, English, and American Studies at Boston College.




Immanuel Kim is Korea Foundation and Kim-Renaud Associate Professor of Korean Literature and Culture Studies. Prior to working at the George Washington University, he was Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies at Binghamton University (SUNY).  Dr. Kim received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside. He is an authority on North Korean literature and film and is the author of a recent book on North Korean literature, Rewriting Revolution: Women, Sexuality, and Memory in North Korean Fiction (University of Hawaii Press, 2018).




This event is on the record and open to the public.

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