Korea

Organized Panel Session

2 - Sexual Deviants, Virtuous Women, and Corporeal Mastery in Postwar North Korea

Friday, March 23
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Park Tower 8216, Lobby Level

Throughout the 1950s, North Korean propaganda was actively engaged in constructing a concept of a so-called “sexual deviant” as part of the ongoing process of political queering of the state’s real and imagined enemies both within its own tightly sealed borders, as well as on the other side of the Bamboo Curtain. At the same time, the state increasingly felt the need to educate its population in what it came to regard as healthy and appropriate forms of sexuality free of any tinge of undesired social and political perversity. By the mid-1960s, this new discourse on innocent sexuality—termed euphemistically yukch’emi, or “physical beauty,” in Korean—helped make the eroticized body a public spectacle. This article shows how current discourses on sexuality in North Korea during this period that sought to conflate sexual immorality with political disloyalty allowed the North Korean state to exercise biopower over its population in accordance with the principles of political sovereignty, ideological independence, and economic autarky promoted by the new political philosophy of juche.

Dima Mironenko

Korea University, Yerushalayim, Israel

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2 - Sexual Deviants, Virtuous Women, and Corporeal Mastery in Postwar North Korea



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