Bo kyung Blenda Im
EAST 389/MUSI 382
Critical Themes in Korean Popular Music
This advanced seminar examines Korean popular music from academic perspectives informed by ethnomusicology, Korean studies, and transpacific studies. The course first historicizes the Korean music industry’s dialogical formation with modern political, economic, religious, and military forces such as Western imperialism, Protestant missions, Japanese colonization, the Cold War, military dictatorship, state-sponsored internationalization, and global technosociality. While the first half of the course emphasizes the Korean domestic industry, the second half pivots outward, focusing on reverse directional flows obtained in the late 20th and early 21st century. We interrogate K-pop’s role in the constructions of Korea and Asia in the North Atlantic cultural imaginary and pay particular attention to continuities and disjunctures between K-pop and “world music,” a genre conventionally marking non-Westerners’ colonial difference in the Western music industry. Themes such as race and racialization, gender and sexuality, migration and diaspora, voice and voicing, and media and technology inform our conversations throughout the semester.