Organized Panel Session
In South Korea the #MeToo movement has brought unprecedented attention to both contemporary and historical cases of gender-based violence. Regarding state-initiated violence against civilians, women’s voices have too often been excluded from official narratives, academic discourses, and popular media representations. Recently, however, feminist activists and researchers have actively challenged such silencing and its effects. Truly, enforced silence both reflects and perpetuates systemic injustice in the form of patriarchal relations of power, hypermasculine biopolitics, pernicious objectification of women’s bodies, and the violation of women’s physical, social, and psychic integrity. This was true, for example, with regard to the WWII-era system of military “comfort stations,” formerly a taboo subject in Korea before it gained international attention among feminists globally during the 1990s, a period also marked by the rise of diasporic Asian identities. Regarding other cases where issues of gender-based violence have been marginalized, what power do the voices and memories of the past have to shape feminist scholarship and activism today? How is it possible to balance the disruptive potential of personal witness with a critical recognition of the risks regarding media visibility amid the growing pressures toward self-disclosure on digital media platforms? This panel draws upon cross-disciplinary approaches - including history, anthropology, and communication studies - to explore recent #MeToo-related social phenomena as well as movements for historical redress regarding the massacres of civilians by state violence in the brutal crackdowns against popular uprisings known as Jeju 4.3 on Jeju Island and the May 18th Democratic Movement in Gwangju.