The talk addresses the history of struggles involved in the processes of creation, development, and utilization of a central site of national remembrance in South Korea. The Seoul National Cemetery can be conceptualized as a lieu de mémoire representing the dominant ideology of anticommunism stemming from the Cold War at the time of the establishment of the Republic and the respective hegemonic culture of the former authoritarian forces (today’s rightist-conservatives). Despite the fact that formal democratic transition had taken place at the end of the 1990s, and the polity has experienced three democratic and peaceful turnovers of government, the dominance of former regime forces and their ideology as well as the war of position between them and the liberal camp is far from over, but manifests – among others – in the contestation of mnemotopes, or memorial sites and their meaning. The talk intends to shed light on this perpetuation of antagonistic struggles over politico-cultural hegemony, and thereby contribute to the understanding of the complex conflict structures in South Korea, as well as to the comprehension of the universal mechanisms in political memory contestation and political polarization at large.
May 14, 2018 | 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Graduate School of East Asian Studies