Yumi Lee to give Colloquium at Penn on Thursday

VU English professor Yumi Lee, who is on leave from Villanova this year, will be giving a colloquium talk at the University of Pennsylvania this coming Thursday, at 12:00 p.m.
This talk examines the newfound visibility of the Korean War in American literature from the late 1990s to the present. Why and how, after going “forgotten” for decades, did the Korean War re-emerge as a topic of interest in contemporary American literature? To answer this question, Professor Lee considers the vexed temporality of the war, which never formally ended, instead remaining suspended in a status that poet Don Mee Choi has described as “ever-pending” (DMZ Colony, 2020). Lee suggests that if we alter our understanding of the time frame of the Korean War, moving from the bounded periodization of 1950-1953 to a more expansive, yet more literal, timeline that extends the war and its effects into the present, then we can read these texts from the 1990s and 2000s not as belated or historical in their approach, but rather as also contemporary with the unresolved war as it has taken on new forms and meanings. Taking a closer look at select examples, Lee will discuss how this literature of what she is calling the long Korean War offers a critical counternarrative to traditional nationalist and imperialist modes of apprehending America’s wars, past and present.
For those unable to attend the talk in person, there is an optional zoom registration here.