Organized Panel Session
Being “Korean” is perceived as an ethnic identity marker with the nation-building connotations coming not only from South and North Korean state ideologies, but also from the dispersed diasporic voices. At the same time, it can be a legally defined boundary, drawn by the mixture of kin and culture. Yet, what does it mean to be “Korean” and what role does “Korean-ness” play in the process of identity negotiations of Korean diaspora, especially in the context of the Global Korean Community (Network) as a new geopolitical actor?
In the proposed panel the authors look at the processes of identity formation of the Koryo-saram diaspora – post-Soviet Koreans – in the various contexts of transnational social and cultural “othering”. First, the panel discusses the representation of the history of Koryo-saram, highlighting the implications of nation-state building within Post-Soviet countries and South Korea, and how they affect the identity of the Koryo-saram (Khan). The authors then present different cases of Koryo-saram identity formation, first, as labor migrants in South Korea, focusing on the role of co-ethnic visa status, gender, and generation in how individual Koryo-saram negotiate their social status (An). Then, we look at the role of material symbols for diaspora, by looking at the Koryo-saram in Austria, Germany and South Korea (Kim), and finally highlight the intersection and interaction of South Korean and Koryo-saram historical narratives through representation of Koryo-saram at the Russian Korean History Museum in Ussuriysk, Russia (Adamz).