Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

1 - Neoimperial Transcorporeal Vulnerability and Chemopho-philic Culture in Joon-ho Bong’s The Host

Saturday, July 7
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Willow, First Floor

This paper analyzes South Korean film director Joon-ho Bong’s science fiction film, The Host, to investigate Tracy Alaimo and Rosi Braidotti’s notions of “trans-corporeality” in relation to the neo-imperial scientific regime of truth. By examining South Korean people’s ongoing vacillation between chemophilia and chemophobia, this paper argues that the neo-imperial biopolitics that uses outbreak narrative as an apparatus makes the colonized people schizophrenic to the chemical due to their inevitable inferiority of scientific knowledge to the United States. In doing this, this paper critiques the posthuman suggestion of a community of “eco-cosmopolitanism” that is based on shared vulnerability because such vulnerability is not shared, but unequally and politically selected.  


The Host aptly captures how neo-imperialism works in tandem with the unequally selected trans-corporeal threat and how this threat constitutes the dualistic chemophobe-philic culture in the colony. The film shows a hybrid monster in the Han River that was made by a chemical toxic from a U.S. army base. The Korean government only focuses on the prevention of viral infections and the chemical fumigation of the area, as if the presence of the U.S.- made monster is an inevitable living condition. While the protagonist of the film intentionally inhales disinfecting chemical steam to sanitize himself, other Korean people protest the use of the toxic disinfecting chemical. This paper uses these scenes of the film to explain various Korean historical events, from the 1960s’ medical detainment camp of U.S. army base sex workers to the electromagnetic wave from THAAD x-band radar. 


 

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1 - Neoimperial Transcorporeal Vulnerability and Chemopho-philic Culture in Joon-ho Bong’s The Host



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