Memory, Reconciliation, and Reunions in South Korea

Memory, Reconciliation, and Reunions in South Korea : Crossing the Divide

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This book analyzes the period following the Inter-Korean Summit of June 2000, focusing on the emotionally charged meetings among family members who had lost all contact for fifty years on opposite sides of the Korean divide. Focusing on regional geopolitics, social dynamics, watershed political rituals, and family narratives, this book explores the cultural process of moving from enmity to engagement amidst the complex legacies of civil war and the global Cold War.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 284 pages
  • 163 x 235 x 27mm | 585g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 1 Maps; 9 Halftones, black and white
  • 0739184717
  • 9780739184714
  • 1,561,120

Review quote

This is the finest book I know on the intricate politics and social situation of Korean separated families. Relying ably on a mix of historical and ethnographic methods, and drawing on perspectives ranging from psychoanalytic treatments of mourning to ritual theory, Kim moves from the origins of family separation before and during the Korean War and the political classifications it entailed to various attempts to reunite such families across the North-South divide. The book culminates with an on-the-spot examination of the series of reunions that began in the year 2000, at a moment of hope for broader inter-Korean rapprochement, which Kim persuasively argues was also a crucial event in the reckoning of national kinship. In turns critical, analytically innovative, and moving, Kim's work deserves to be read by every student of the modern Koreas. -- Robert Oppenheim, University of Texas at Austin Nan Kim's study of the place and significance of reunions of Korean families still divided by the never ending Korean War is nothing less than subtle majesty. Professor Kim interrogates the political whys and hows involved in these heavily publicized moments with deep sensitivity to the painfully lived and physically embodied reality of division for these families. She raises, moreover, the disturbing truth that many of these reunions have 'unsettled' the meaning of war death on both sides of the 38 parallel with family members long mourned as dead suddenly alive and on the other side. Her message is profoundly disquieting; her prose is elegant and clear. -- Alexis Dudden, University of Connecticut
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About Nan Kim

Nan Kim is associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
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Table of contents

Part I Chapter 1: Historicizing Korea's Geopolitical Liminality Chapter 2: Fateful Passages, In-Between States Part II Chapter 3: Anti-Commemorations Chapter 4: Threshold Rituals of Reconciliation Part III Chapter 5: Impossible Returns Chapter 6: Ethical Traversals Conclusion: Meeting with the Past Epilogue: The Afterlife of Division
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