DMZ Crossing

Performing Emotional Citizenship Along the Korean Border

Suk-Young Kim

Columbia University Press

DMZ Crossing

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Pub Date: March 2014

ISBN: 9780231164825

224 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£49.95

Pub Date: March 2014

ISBN: 9780231537261

224 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $59.99£49.95

DMZ Crossing

Performing Emotional Citizenship Along the Korean Border

Suk-Young Kim

Columbia University Press

The Korean demilitarized zone might be among the most heavily guarded places on earth, but it also provides passage for thousands of defectors, spies, political emissaries, war prisoners, activists, tourists, and others testing the limits of Korean division. This book focuses on a diverse selection of inter-Korean border crossers and the citizenship they acquire based on emotional affiliation rather than constitutional delineation. Using their physical bodies and emotions as optimal frontiers, these individuals resist the state's right to draw geopolitical borders and define their national identity.

Drawing on sources that range from North Korean documentary films, museum exhibitions, and theater productions to protester perspectives and interviews with South Korean officials and activists, this volume recasts the history of Korean division and draws a much more nuanced portrait of the region's Cold War legacies. The book ultimately helps readers conceive of the DMZ as a dynamic summation of personalized experiences rather than as a fixed site of historical significance.
In this beautifully written and richly documented study, Suk-Young Kim draws on a broad range of sources including memoirs, literature, films, personal interviews, and stage plays, astutely blending ethnography with performance studies and offering fascinating insights into the complex makeup of border crossers, ranging from defectors to tourists, prisoners of war, and politicians. DMZ Crossing is a pathbreaking work whose lively narrative and stunning originality makes it a valuable text for anyone interested in contemporary Korea. Jun Yoo, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Brilliantly examining how political divisions inform the emotional tenor of everyday life, Suk-Young Kim's analysis of the DMZ has implications far beyond Korean studies. Expertly braiding testimony from witnesses on both sides of the Korean border, Kim reminds us that political and ideological divisions are often no match for the intensity and duration of emotional ties. This book is an important contribution to performance studies, postcolonial theory, and affect theory. It should be read by all scholars interested in Korean life and culture on both sides of the DMZ. Peggy Phelan, Stanford University
DMZ Crossing offers much-needed contemplation upon the DMZ and its multiple significations, making an important contribution to the field. Suzy Kim, American Historical Review
Suk-young Kim is rapidly becoming one of the most innovative and insightful scholars writing about North Korea.... This is a superb book. Journal of Asian Studies
An original contribution to the study of the Korean border, and also has significance for scholarship on affect, citizenship, museums, tourism, media, and theatre and performance history in general. Kyounghye Kwon, Theatre Survey
Acknowledgments
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Contesting the Border
1. Imagined Border Crossers on Stage
2. Divided Screen, Divided Paths
3. Twice Crossing and the Price of Emotional Citizenship
4. Borders on Display: Museum Exhibitions
5. Nation and Nature Beyond the Borderland
Notes
Works Cited
Index

Winner, 2017 Outstanding Book Award

About the Author

Suk-Young Kim is a professor of theater and East Asian studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her book Illusive Utopia addresses North Korean state propaganda and rituals, and she is the coauthor of Long Road Home, which documents the oral history of a North Korean labor camp survivor.