Julie Lee

“‘Our Pain: Uncanny Narratives of Gendered Trauma in Oh Jung-hee’s The Yard of Childhood”
Fall 2016

My senior thesis, “‘Our Pain: Uncanny Narratives of Gendered Trauma in Oh Jung-hee’s The Yard of Childhood,” engages in a close reading of the contemporary South Korean novelist’s 1981 short story collection through the lens of literary trauma theory, while interrogating the assumed universality of such eurocentric theoretical concepts. A significant part of my research examines the transgenerational transmission of trauma as a symptomatic response to the Korean War—specifically the division of the peninsula resulting in 10 million people suddenly and forcibly separated from their family members. My presentation for the Queer Asia 2016 & Centre of Korean Studies Seminar at SOAS University of London, “Queer Kinship in Korean Division Literature," will explore how this historically and culturally specific circumstance redefined the family unit and facilitated non-normative forms of kinship. By locating the intersection of queer theory and Korean studies in 이산가족 (“separated families”), I seek to simultaneously remind the West of “The Forgotten War” and rearticulate queerness in a uniquely Korean context.