This interview coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Korean War, a war that, as Baik reminds us, has not officially ended.
How are the particularities of the Korean War, as an unended war, expressed in the lives of survivors and their descendants? This work explores how violence is narrated and framed in the lives and works of diasporic subjects, utilizing the concept of durational memory to attend to how the past prevails in the present.
Reencounters: On the Korean War and Diasporic Memory Critique
(Temple University Press, 2020) joins a growing list of Asian American and Korean American scholarship that interrogates the impact modern warfare has had on memory, trauma, and healing but does so by engaging with a variety of diasporic works such as oral histories, live performances, media installations, and monuments.
Through a close reading of these aesthetic practices and the events surrounding them, Baik offers a new analytic, the process of reencounters, to account for the ways in which the Korean War has transformed the social lives of those within the Korean peninsula and without.
Included in this discourse are the powerful works of transnational Korean adoptees and a reevaluation of the politics of Jeju Island, a contested space of colonialism, militarism, and sovereignty. Reencounters
provides a new perspective not only on the aftermaths of war but on the diverse states of being that form our understanding of diaspora and diasporic memory.
Crystal Mun-hye Baik
is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of California, Riverside.
Laura Ha Reizman is a PhD candidate in Asian Languages & Cultures at UCLA