Queer Lives as Cautionary Tales: Female Same-Sex Weddings in the Hetero-Patriarchal Imagination of Authoritarian South Korea

Event Details

Admission is free.

Part of larger book project, this presentation by Todd Henry, Associate Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego, examines the role that newspaper weeklies (chuganji) played in establishing the normative boundaries of cultural citizenship in Cold War South Korea. A particular focus is on the ideological work that textual and visual representations of female homoeroticism did in entertaining a variety of audiences as part of “mass dictatorship,” while simultaneously imbuing them with the developmentalist ideologies of hetero-patriarchy and ethno-nationalism. The presentation also considers the subversive practices of “shadow- reading” women as well as the contradictory function of the mass media in facilitating gynocentric communities and other queer life paths under an illiberal regime of capitalist accumulation.

Sponsored by USC Korean Humanities Group, USC Department of History, USC Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, and the East Asian Studies Center.



Todd A. Henry (Ph.D., UCLA, 2006; Associate Professor) is a specialist of modern Korea with a focus on the period of Japanese rule (1910-1945). He is also interested in social and cultural formations linking post-Asia-Pacific War South Korea, North Korea, and Japan (1945-present) within the geopolitical contexts of American militarism and the Cold War. Dr. Henry has written a book on public spaces and colonial power in Seoul and several articles on Japanese colonialism in Korea. He is currently working on a transnational study of authoritarian development in South Korea (1948-1993) that examines the ideological functions and subcultural dynamics of queerness, especially as they relate to tabloid journalism and medical science, Hot War modes of kinship and citizenship, and globalized discourses and practices of the “sexual revolution.” Dr. Henry has received two Fulbright grants (Kyoto University, 2004-2005; Hanyang and Ewha Women’s Universities, 2013) and two fellowships from the Korea Foundation (Seoul National University, 2003-2004; Harvard University, 2008-2009). At UCSD, he is an affiliate faculty member of the Program in Critical Gender Studies (CGS) and the director of the Program in Transnational Korean Studies, the recipient of a five-year (2013-2018) $600,000 grant from the Academy of Korean Studies as a Core University Program for Korean Studies (CUPKS).


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