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The Korea Now Podcast

Jul 18, 2020

This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with Jerome de Wit. They speak about literature during the Korean War period, the writers that worked on both sides of the battlelines, the formation of war ideology, the institutionalisation of the process, the motivations for writing during the war, the issues and challenges involved in trying to find the appropriate message, the ability of this literature to capture emotions and rouse the reader to action, the nationalism and national identity that emerged/was built-up at this time, the dilemmas that concepts such as Minjok produced for considerations of post-war Korea, the way enemies and foreign powers were represented during the war, the gendered construction of womanhood, and important aspects of this literature and ideology that have maintained post-war and in some cases still continue today.

Jerome de Wit is a Junior Professor at the University of Tübingen, at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies in the Department of Korean Studies. Jerome de Wit received his Ph.D. from Leiden University, Netherlands. He is a Korean specialist on North and South Korean Wartime Literature and modern Korean culture. He is the author of articles that have appeared in the Memory Studies Journal and in several Korean journals. He has been a Research Fellow at both the Asiatic Research Institute (Korea University, 2012) as well as the Kyujanggak (Seoul National University, 2014). He is also co-organizer of the Korean Studies Graduate Students Convention in Europe. His research interest in Korean culture is focused on public discourses concerning history and society and how cultural sources can provide us with different viewpoints on debates such as nationalism, identity, and history.

*** Jerome de Wit’s dissertation: ‘Writing under wartime conditions: North and South Korean writers during the Korean War (1950-1953)’ (

*** Jerome de Wit’s forthcoming book: ‘Literature and Cultural Identity during the Korean War: Comparing North and South Korean Writing’ (

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