History, Politics of Time, and the Poetics of Remembrance

History, Politics of Time, and the Poetics of Remembrance

Namhee Lee - Professor of Modern Korean History and Director of the Center for Korean Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Room 101 (Auditorium), Henry R. Luce Hall See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
The Council on East Asian Studies is pleased to present the 5th Seong-Yawng Park GRD ‘65 and Marguerite Clark Park Memorial Lecture. 

The Seong-Yawng Park GRD ’65 and Marguerite Clark Park Memorial Lecture was made possible by a generous gift from the estate of the Park family. The principal objective of this gift is to foster the study of Korea at Yale by bringing recognition of the Korean peninsula and its affairs and achievements to Yale and the wider community.

The lecture will take place from 4:30pm to 6:00pm, with a reception follow in the Luce Common Room on the 2nd floor.

This presentation explores the politics of time that the regime of discontinuity engages in and its historiographical and ethical implications. I characterize articulations or narratives that have erased, distorted, or silenced a certain kind of memory as constituting the regime of discontinuity. The regime of discontinuity performatively consigns as past or anachronistic all those phenomena that do not conform to contemporary society’s dominant liberal democratic ideal. This view of temporality vindicates contemporaries in relation to injustices that happened in the past and to a present that has not rendered justice for past historical injustices. Informed by Walter Benjamin’s view of historical temporality that sees history as not a continuous accumulation of homogeneous, empty time but a time filled full by the intermingling of past and present, I suggest poetics of remembrance as an alternative. To make amends for the previously unacknowledged suffering of the past generation and to make efforts to continue the unconcluded struggles of the past is to open up a possibility for true emancipation of society and for thinking about possibilities of a transformative political praxis.

Namhee Lee is Professor of modern Korean history and Director of the Center for Korean Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her publications include The Making of Minjung: Democracy and the Politics of Representation in South Korea (Cornell University Press, 2007), The South Korean Democratization Movement: A Sourcebook (co-edited with Kim Won, Academy of Korean Studies, 2016), and Memory Construction and the Politics of Time in Neoliberal South Korea (Duke University Press, 2022).

Korea, Transregional