Soh Jaipil Lecture Series with Sung Eun Kim

Thu Apr 18 2024 at 02:00 pm to 03:30 pm

1957 E St NW room 505 | Washington

GW Institute for Korean Studies
Publisher/HostGW Institute for Korean Studies
Soh Jaipil Lecture Series with Sung Eun Kim
Conscripted at “Freedom’s Frontier”: Korean Augmentees, Racialized Masculinity, and U.S. Military Empire
About this Event

In 2022, the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, was reopened with a new “Wall of Remembrance.” Emblazoned on the panels commemorating the war dead were over 7,000 Korean names. Hailed as a civil rights “victory” by then-President Barack Obama nearly a decade earlier, the Korean War, as enshrined in the Wall of Remembrance, now includes Korean Augmentation Troops to the U.S. Army, or KATUSAs, among America’s multiracial fallen sons. Who were these vaunted figures and what was their role at “freedom’s frontier”? As a term referring to an elite cadre of South Korean soldiers conscripted into the U.S. Army from the Korean War to the present, “KATUSA” is part of a military-imperial vocabulary in South Korea that has assigned value and status to the men who have served in this capacity. Yet what goes unseen in the celebration of KATUSAs in South Korea–and now, in U.S. official commemoration around the Korean War–is the centrality of their racialization and emasculation to the role they played under the U.S. military empire. The GW Institute for Korean Studies invites you to join us for this special lecture as Kim reconsiders the significance of “freedom’s frontier,” an epithet most commonly associated with the demilitarized zone (DMZ), by analyzing the ambivalent sovereignty of the KATUSA.

This event is on the record and open to the public.

Event Photos

Sung Eun Kim (Left) is the Postdoctoral Fellow at the George Washington University Institute for Korean Studies (GWIKS). He is an interdisciplinary historian of modern Korea whose research focuses on U.S.–ROK relations, the intersections of transnational Korean militarism and U.S. imperialism in the Asia-Pacific region, and the racial and sexual politics of colonial soldiering. He earned his Ph.D. in modern Korean history from UCLA, his M.A. in East Asian Regional Studies from Columbia University, and his B.A. in Asian Studies and Political Science from Vassar College.


Jisoo M. Kim (Right) is Korea Foundation Associate Professor of History, International Affairs, and East Asian Languages and Literatures at George Washington University. She is Founding Director of the GW Institute for Korean Studies (2017-Present) and Founding Co-Director of the East Asia National Resource Center (2018-Present). She also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Korean Studies (2020-Present). She specializes in gender, sexuality, law, emotions, and affect in Korean history. She is the author of The Emotions of Justice: Gender, Status, and Legal Performance in Chosŏn Korea (University of Washington Press, 2016), which was awarded the 2017 James Palais Prize of the Association for Asian Studies. She is currently working on a book project tentatively entitled Criminalizing Intimacy: Marriage, Concubinage, and Adultery Law in Korea, 1469-2015. In 2023, she received a Distinguished Research Award from the Ministry of Education in South Korea. She received her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University.

Download the Program Here (PDF)

This event is on the record and open to the public. Your photo or video may be taken during the event for education or promotional purposes. Your visit grants permission for our use of these photos and videos.

The Elliott School can coordinate with the university to reasonably accommodate most disabilities. If you need specific accommodations, please contact GWIKS at [email protected]. Requests should be made as soon as possible, but at least three business days prior to the event to ensure full accommodations: Disability Support Services | Motherhood rooms | Gender Inclusive Bathrooms.

Event Photos

Event Venue & Nearby Stays

1957 E St NW room 505, 1957 E Street NW, Washington, United States


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