Children’s Literature in Modern Korea

Zur book coverStanford University Korean literature specialist Dafna Zur will explore the emergence and development of writing for children in modern Korea in a lecture at the Center for Korean Studies Friday, April 7, 2017. Zur’s talk will begin at 4:00 p.m. in the Center’s conference room. In her presentation, she will elaborate on the research she did for her forthcoming book, Figuring Korean Futures: Children’s Literature in Modern Korea. The book will be published later this year by Stanford University Press.

Zur’s research examined children’s periodicals against the political, educational, and psychological discourses of their time. She found that the figure of the child was particularly favorable to the project of modernity and nation-building, as well as to the colonial and post-colonial projects of socialization and nationalization. According to her study, Korean children’s literature has built on a trajectory that begins with the child as an organic part of nature and ends, in the post-colonial era, with the child as the primary agent of control of nature. The figure of the child became a driving force of nostalgia that stood in for future aspirations for the individual, family, class, and nation.

Dafna Zur photoDafna Zur is an assistant professor in the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department at Stanford University, where she teaches courses on Korean literature, cinema, and popular culture. She earned her doctorate at the University of British Columbia and has published articles on North Korean science fiction, the Korean War in children’s literature of North and South Korea, Korean folk tales, and childhood in cinema. Her translations have been published in, The Columbia Anthology of Modern Korean Short Stories, Azalea, Asia Literary Review, and Waxen Wings.

Center for Korean Studies events are free and open to all. This presentation is supported by the Core University Program for Korean Studies through the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Studies Promotion Service of the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS-2015-OLU-2250005). For further information, including information regarding access for the handicapped, telephone the Center for Korean Studies at (808) 956-7041. The University of Hawai‘i is an equal opportunity/affirmative action Institution.