Girls Generation[s]: Situating the Korean Wave, Two Decades on

Friday, 3 November 2023, 1:30pm (HKT) at CVA 703 and on Zoom

Women We Love: Femininities and the Korean Wave (2023) is a new volume that features women personalities, communities, activities and voices arising from the globalisation of Korean popular culture or the Korean Wave.  Co-editor Liew Kai Khiun has also contributed a chapter here on women-led K-pop artistes, and K-pop inspired communities and activists from Southeast Asia. From artistes and directors to fans, women are in the forefront in generating and sustaining the Korean Wave. 

However, their roles are often less celebrated than their male counterparts who are often distinguished as industry movers and artistic icons. This imbalance is particularly evident in the area of Korean Cinema Studies, which remains represented by predominately male Korean filmmakers.  Often portrayed as manufactured and objectified cultural workers and fanatical consumers, women’s agencies are often denigrated. One particular case highlighted in this volume is the K-pop group Girls Generation. Debuting in 2007, the group was critiqued as manufactured personifications of female sexual objectification. Although they are now considered among K-pop classics, the group has yet to receive the level of critical acclaim associated with their male K-pop counterparts and Korean arthouse filmmakers.

How does one identify complexity and autonomy in women artistes, spotlight subversive moments within media texts, and locate the women-centered K-pop fan communities around the world? In addition, how can studies on Korean cinema incorporate the broader cultural ecosystem of Hallyu with its strong women presence what is often otherwise dismissively regarded as banal entertainment in K-pop, Korean television dramas and influencer content?  This talk seeks to underscore the gender dynamics in situating the Hallyu, to give otherwise marginalised women greater visibility as more meaningfully active participants as the “Girls Generation[s]”.

KAI KHIUN LIEW is a scholar of Transnational Cultural Studies within the context of East and Southeast Asia. Women we Love: Femininities and the Korean Wave is one of his latest scholarly projects from more than two decades of research into the area of The Korean Wave. Kai Khiun is currently an Assistant Professor at the Hong Kong Metropolitan University.

Organised by:

  • The Centre for Media and Communication Research, School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University.

In association with:

• Global Storytelling; Journal of Digital and Moving Images.
• Academy of Film, Research Postgraduate Programme.
• Gender Studies Concentration (Faculty of Social Sciences and Faculty of Arts)

As this talk is in a lab, we regret that we will not be serving refreshments.

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