2011-2012 Colloquium Series

Dr. Youngmin Choe (Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Univ. of Southern California), will present "Tourist Distractions: Travels in South Korean Melodrama"

Please note time/venue change:
Friday, January 20, 2:00 PM
6th Floor Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street
Institute for East Asian Studies
University of California, Berkeley

From Lord of the Rings in New Zealand to Twilight in the northwest United States and Italy, cinema has inspired tourists to travel to places featured in and contrived for films. Studies on film-induced tourism tend to focus on the impact of such phenomena on local culture and community development, marketing strategies by local tourist boards, and on-site experiences of film-induced tourists, focusing more on how to use film, and less on questioning the cinematic language that induces the desire to travel and its ideological underpinnings. Such approaches also undervalue differences in film genres, and subsequently the ways in which these genres influence the viewer’s displacement of film sight onto film site. Focusing on melodramas, this talk will discuss Korean films that unexpectedly generated tourism, particularly during the period from 1998-2002 when South Korea sought out cinematic collaborations with Japan and China as a platform for regional reconciliation. Choe argues that the trope of travel featured in this intercultural cinema, which was initially intended to promote cross-cultural understanding, later became a means to propagate a film’s affective experience beyond the screen, so much so that many films seem self-conscious of their own capacities to not only provoke tourism, but also to provide ersatz historical experiences of political and historical negotiation. The talk will also assess what is at stake when historical and political affect becomes commodified and consumed through practices such as film-induced tourism.

Speaker Bio:
Youngmin Choe is Assistant Professor of Korean Film and Visual Culture at the University of Southern California, where she teaches courses on Korean Cinema, Cultural Studies and Travel in Korean Visual Culture. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her publications include “Affective Sites: Hur Jin-ho’s Cinema and Film-induced Tourism in Korea” in Asia on Tour: Exploring the Rise of Asian Tourism and “Transitional Emotions: Boredom and Distraction in Hong Sang-su’s Holiday Films” in Korean Studies (Vol. 33). She is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Tourist Distractions: Traveling in South Korea’s East Asian Cinema.

This event is being co-sponsored with the Center for Korean Studies, UC Berkeley

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