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The Korea Now Podcast

Sep 12, 2020

This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with Ellie Choi. They speak about the author Yi Kwangsu, his place as an independence writer and his influence on the March First anti-Japanese demonstrations, the style of writing he employed and the themes that ran through his work, his views on the modernisation of Korea, how he saw and influenced the development of Korean nationalism, the important place that he held within the colonial literary scene, the line that he tried to walk between advocating a type of Korean independence within the Japanese empire, the degree of his collaboration with the Japanese authorities and how this manifested within his literature, how and why he is still often considered a traitor even today, and a focus on two books in particular: ‘The Heartless’ and ‘On National Reconstruction’.

Ellie Choi is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Korean Media and Culture at Brown University.  Her current research interests include the transnational consumption of Korean media, the Seoul city, cyberspaces, visual culture, and dislocation.  She is the author of “The City and the Image: Seoul’s Recovery of Its Own Past,” The Metropole Series:The Urban History Association (March, 2018) and “Forgotten northerly memories: Yi Kwangsu and his alterities in The Heartless,” The Journal of Asian Studies (August 2018), and is currently writing a book-length project, “The Laptop Nation and the Global Consumption of Korea.” She teaches classes on Korean film and media, urban space, northern Korea, and modern cultural history.  Her first book project, Space and National Identity: Yi Kwangsu's Vision of Korea during the Japanese Empire, explored the relationships among colonial space, cultural nationalism, and historical identity. Dr. Choi was Assistant Professor of Korean Studies at Cornell University, and has also taught at Smith, Dartmouth, Yale, Yonsei, and Ewha Colleges.

* The Cultural Landscape of Colonial Korea's First Modern Novel, The Heartless (

* Memories of Korean Modernity: Yi Kwangsu’s The Heartless and New Perspectives in Colonial Alterity (

* IN THE SHADOW OF NATION AND EMPIRE Northwestern writers in colonial Seoul (

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