Third Biennial Melbourne Metropolitan Korean Studies meeting

On Friday, the 17th of June, Monash Korean Studies Research Hub hosted the Third Biennial Melbourne Metropolitan Korean Studies meeting. The one-day workshop showcased the latest research of senior Koreanists from different Australia-based universities and provided a space to discuss current opportunities and challenges facing Korean Studies. You can watch some of the presentations from the day in the playlist below. The videos in the playlist follow the order of presentations as listed in the schedule at the bottom of this page.

Date: Friday 17 June
Time: 10am - 5pm AEST (registrations open 9:00am, presentations begin 10am)
Location: Monash University Clayton Campus Sports Centre, Premiers room / Zoom



9:00am - 10:00am


10:00am - 10:10am

Opening remarks

Dr Andrew David Jackson

Session 1: The Korean Peninsula

Chair: Dr Andrew David Jackson

10:10am - 10:40am

Why don’t you come out and change society? Coalition politics inside South Korea’s candlelight rallies of 2016/17

Presenter: Dr David Hundt
South Korea’s candlelight rallies played a decisive role in ending Park Geun-hye’s presidency in early 2017, but little is known about how the disparate cross-class coalition of interests inside the rallies held together. Drawing on interviews with activists and first-time or infrequent rallygoers, this article finds that there was broad consensus among participants on three major issues: the historical significance of the impeachment crisis, the need to practise a democratic ethos during the rallies, and the need for the crisis to usher in a new and better phase of national politics. The consensus, we illustrate, helped prevent further democratic decline in the short-term, but did not definitively bring South Korea into a new era of politics.

10:40am - 11:10am

Soju advertising from 1960 to the present: A journey through 60 years of visual culture and language

Presenter: Dr Lucien Brown
In this talk I report the initial findings of an analysis of over 800 soju print adverts spanning 60 years. I demonstrate how soju advertising developed “harder” imagery and language during the 1980s, which then transitioned to “softer” images and the use of female models from the 1990s. Since then, the imagery of soju ads has continued to evolve, showing evidence of shifting gender roles and changes in the idealized image of women. Whereas previous studies (Harkness 2013) have shown changes in the social semiotics of soju adverts from the 1980s to the 2000s, this study contextualizes these changes within a wider historical timeframe.

11:10am - 11:40am

Knowledge production of "security" in the Asia-Pacific
Presenter: Dr Maria Rost Rublee
Knowledge production about what constitutes "security" varies around the world. In this presentation, I discuss research on security studies within the Asia-Pacific, examining journals and topics over a 10-year period. In particular, I highlight trends in Korea and around Korea.

11:40am – 12:40pm


Session 2

Chair: Dr Maria Rost Rublee

12:40pm - 1:10pm

The Significance of Sociality and Exhibition Spaces for Art film Audiences in South Korea

Presenter: Dr Andrew David Jackson
One strong attraction of South Korean art houses for many spectators and one that exhibitors, administrators, and researchers seldom highlight is the sociality of their cinematic experiences. The sociality of cinematic experience, or how audiences consume film communally and interact with other spectators within what Robert C. Allen’s terms a “social site,” is a standout recollection of art house, videotheque and European cultural center regulars. Using ideas about exhibition spaces and communal cinematic experiences developed by Robert C. Allen and Julian Ha nich, this paper analyses what South Korean audiences value about the sociality of their cinema-going. The paper investigates the pre-1990s period of Korean movie theatergoing as well as the specific exhibition culture that has grown up in both independent and multiplex chain-run art houses. It argues that an understanding of the sociality of cinema-going has important implications because it contradicts a central tenet of KOFIC’s policy towards the protection of art and independent film.

1:10pm - 1:40pm

North Korea as a method*

Presenter: Dr Jay Song
The paper reviews methodological trends in North Korean studies, mainly in social sciences, over the past two decades. It aims to demonstrate the evolution of data and methodologies employed by scholars in the field by focusing on three methods—statistical analyses, interviews, and theory testing—as well as to examine benefits and challenges associated with each methodology. The study finds that data and methodologies have become significantly diversified and sophisticated with increased accessibility to digitized North Korean materials, multidisciplinary eclectic methods, and computational analytical tools used by a new generation of scholars. At the core, it is the validity of data that can genuinely contribute to evidence-based scientific investigation. It also highlights that researchers’ epistemological barriers can seriously undermine the transparency in data and research design. Self-reflection, crossexamination, and rigorous peer review can further advance the quality of North Korean studies.

1:40pm - 2:10pm

Tea and coffee break

Session 3: Australia-Korea relations and education

Chair: Dr Lucien Brown

2:10pm - 2:40pm

Developing future business leaders to advance the Australia-Korea relationship

Presenter: Prof. Patrick Butler
Successful international trade relations and deep political, economic and social ties between Australia and Korea require the engagement and development of next-generation business leaders. Each national cohort has important lessons to learn from the other, including strategic perspectives and capabilities in the areas of business culture, manufacturing, marketing, innovation and service sector productivity.

Insights from Monash Business School and Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) Business School exchange programs and student visits at MBA and Executive MBA levels are developed.

2:40pm - 3:10pm

Transitional Justice in Korea: A Role for Australia?

Presenters: Dr Danielle Chubb and Dr Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings
This presentation will discuss an Academy of Korean Studies funded project titled ‘Transitional Justice in Korea? A Role for Australia,’ awarded in 2020 and completed in 2021. The presentation will explore some of the challenges of designing the project, finding funding, and pivoting an in-person workshop methodology to an online space. It will also cover the project’s publications and preliminary findings, as well as present potential future directions.

3:10pm - 3:40pm

The Future of Korean Studies in Australia: Challenges and Opportunities

Presenter: Prof. Bronwen Dalton
Many of the challenges facing Korean Studies in Australia are similar to the challenges facing Australian universities - government funding is declining, competition from non-traditional providers is growing; pressure to create new sources of income is rising; students are more forthright about getting value for money and are seeking more enhanced digital learning experiences. More broadly, these challenges emerge in the context of increasing volatility in our region and heightened pressures on both economies. More profound, the climate change crisis presents humanity its greatest existential threat. In this context we must rethink the how we deliver Korean Studies education and also prepare students to follow their passions in new ways that meet changing expectations and ensure graduates can thrive in these uncertain times. The good news is that these challenges also present Korean Studies its greatest opportunities. In particular, there is a great opportunity to develop ICT enabled lifetime fit-for-purpose learning and for-purpose learning in ways that further enrich and expand academic curriculums and programs and connect students with their passion for social change; become a vehicle for engagement with our region in ways that deepen the strategic Australian-Korean partnership in ways that lead to mutual prosperity and build more resilient democracies in both countries; and, through seizing new opportunities for research funding from industry and philanthropy, resource a rapid acceleration of the research standing of the field. BUT the other good news is that, for Korean Studies, this is much more about propelling a trajectory rather than changing course.

3:40pm - 4:10pm

Round Table discussion

4:10pm - 4:20pm

Closing remarks

This work was supported by the Core University Program for Korean Studies through the Ministry of
Education of the Republic of Korea and Korean Studies Promotion Service of the Academy of Korean
Studies (AKS-2017-OLU-2250002).