Organized Panel Session
This panel challenges existing narratives on Cold War cultural production in postwar South Korea. Following the reconstruction after a devastating civil war, South Korea became a site of flourishing cultural production, located at the global nexus of Cold War ideology, capital flow, and institutional formulations. However, we approach the Cold War as a relational concept, focusing on lesser-studied agents on the ground who mediated the process of cultural creation and reception.
Each panelist brings a case study that questions the global meaning of Cold War culture. We examine the religious, academic, commercial, and ideological dimensions of Cold War culture in South Korea after the war. Jinseok Choi points to the limits in the ideological reach of anti-communist studies, studying student activists, government agents, university professors, and their reading of the book On Maoism. Anne Lee tests the reach of American mass consumer culture in women’s magazines, through looking at the contributors and the feedback from the readership. Yonghee Lee traces the restrictions of the Cold War ideal of “middle-brow culture” by analyzing the concept’s emergence in a consensus created by the institutionalization of the publishing market. Dahye Jeong explores the unexpected results of Christian family planning programs, with its “progressive” turn despite the linkage to the images of an American ideal family. All four panelists give special attention to the role of knowledge, discourse, and media circulation, in new frameworks that cannot be subsumed under previously recognized Cold War modalities.