Lectures and Roundtables on the Korean Diaspora and Immigration

Korean Immigration to the United States (1903-1905) – Dr. Wayne Patterson (published February 6, 2014)
Between 1903 and 1905, the first wave of Korean immigrants arrived in Hawaii, forming the beginning of the Korean diaspora in the United States. Although they numbered only about 7,500, their movement had profound implications for American and Japanese policy toward Korea at the end of the Choson dynasty. Based upon the research that resulted in his book, The Korean Frontier in America: Immigration to Hawaii, 1896-1910, Dr. Wayne Patterson presents how Asian history and Asian American history are interconnected rather than separate fields of inquiry.

Korean Diaspora: History, Identity and Community Consciousness – Edward Chang, Professor Ethnic Studies, UC Riverside (published on August 2, 2016)

Avante-Garde Routes for the Korean Diaspora, Steven Lee, Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of California, Berkeley (recorded September 26, 2012)
This paper takes as a starting point the 2007 American documentary film Koryo Saram: The Unreliable People, which highlights both the tragedy and perseverance of Kazakhstan’s Korean population. Koryo Saram includes extensive footage of a 1946 documentary film entitled Kolkhoz “Avant-Garde”, produced by Soviet authorities to showcase a thriving Kazakhstani Korean collective farm. Koryo Saram correctly presents this film as raw Stalinist propaganda, but Kolkhoz “Avant-Garde” also bears traces of the inter-war Soviet Avant-Garde, in particular the documentary techniques of Dziga Vertov, Aleksandr Rodchenko, and Sergei Tret’iakov. That is, there is more to Kolkhoz “Avant-Garde” than meets the eye, and the paper argues that it reveals the tragedy not just of Soviet Koreans, but also of what I am calling the Ethnic Avant-Garde: a cross-racial, international grouping of artists who, in the 1920s and early 30s, looked to Moscow for ways of reconciling revolutionary politics, artistic innovation, and ethnic particularism. Turning from the two films, the paper then provides a broader mapping of the Ethnic Avant-Garde, which included, among others, both Korean American and Soviet Korean artists and writers. In short, I am proposing here a new, Soviet-centered model for bridging these two distinct branches of the Korean diaspora.

The North Korean Diaspora in Northeast Asia, Woodrow Wilson Center (published on July 30, 2013)
On February 15, the Asia Program, in association with the North Korea International Documentation Project and the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, hosted an event to examine the North Korean diaspora in Northeast Asia.

Koreans in Hawaii (published on April 29, 2014)
“Koreans in Hawaii” with Duk Hee Lee Murabayashi, community leader, expert, author. Mrs. Duk Hee Lee Murabayashi, expert on Korean immigration in Hawaii, will discuss Korean immigration history, Korean people and culture in Hawaii. She authored four books on the topic, has taught at UH-Manoa on “Koreans in Hawaii,” and heads the Korean Immigration Research Institute in Hawaii.

Soviet Koreans in Uzbekistan: Victoria Kim’s talk at the Royal Asiatic Society in Beijing
Victoria Kim’s talk at the Bookworm in Beijing, China, about her project “Lost and Found in Uzbekistan: The Korean Story” and the deportation of ethnic Koreans to Central Asia (Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) in 1937. The event was kindly hosted by the Royal Asiatic Society China on September 27, 2016.

Korean Americans: Past and Present – Susie Woo, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Cal State Fullerton (published on February 14, 2014)

Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging, Eleana J. Kim presented at The Korea Society (published July 29, 2013)
Since the end of the Korean War, an estimated 200,000 children from South Korea have been adopted into families in North America, Europe, and Australia. While these transnational adoptions were initiated as an emergency measure to find homes for mixed-race children born in the aftermath of the war, the practice grew exponentially from the 1960s through the 1980s. At the height of South Korea’s “economic miracle,” adoption became an institutionalized way of dealing with poor and illegitimate children. Most of the adoptees were raised with little exposure to Koreans or other Korean adoptees, but as adults, through global flows of communication, media, and travel, they have come into increasing contact with each other, Korean culture, and the South Korean state. Since the 1990s, as Korean children have continued to leave to be adopted in the West, a growing number of adult adoptees have been returning to Korea to seek their cultural and biological origins. In this fascinating ethnography, Eleana J. Kim examines the history of Korean adoption, the emergence of a distinctive adoptee collective identity, and the phenomenon of adoptee returns to Korea in relation to South Korean modernity and globalization. Kim draws on interviews with adult adoptees, social workers, NGO volunteers, adoptee activists, scholars, and journalists in the U.S., Europe, and South Korea, as well as on observations at international adoptee conferences, regional organization meetings, and government-sponsored motherland tours