The Cultural Studies program arranges, every year, several public events exploring socio-cultural topics and issues in Canada and around the world. The events include public talks, seminars and community engagement activities. Each year, world-renowned academics in the field of cultural studies are invited to UBC Okanagan to take part in these events. In past years, the experts invited to speak at these events include R. Cassandra Lord (Assistant Professor of Sexual Studies at the University of Toronto), Min Sook Lee (award-winning Canadian filmmaker and Assistant Professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University) and Wanda Nanibush (Anishinaabe-kwe image and word warrior, curator, and community organizer).

This year’s Cultural Studies Speaker events are co-sponsored by the Cultural Studies program, the UBCO Equity and Inclusion Office, Department of Economics, Philosophy and Political Science, and the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. The speaker this year is Suk-Young Kim. Kim is the Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at UCLA. She also acts as the director for the Center for Performance Studies at UCLA. Kim’s past works include the books Illusive Utopia: Theater, Film, and Everyday Performance in North Korea (2010), DMZ Crossing (2014) and K-pop Live: Fans, Idols, and Multimedia Performance (2018). Her current project is a book exploring North Korean millennials.

Kim will be hosting both a research talk and public lecture during her visit. The abstracts, times and locations for the talks are listed below (taken from FCCS’ website).

Photo by Matt Paish

Millennial North Korea: Cell Phones, Forbidden Media and Living Creatively with Surveillance

Monday, March 16, 2020, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., ART 206

Free event. Refreshments provided. A coffee reception begins at 9:50 a.m.

North Korea might be known as the world’s most secluded society, but during the new millennium, it too has witnessed the rapid rise of new media technologies. While the North Korean state is anxiously trying to catch up with the world standard when it comes to communication technology, it is also faced with the need to block the open influx of outside information by designing its own “intranet” for its people. In a country where the smuggling of foreign media is still punishable by public execution, how do North Koreans manage to access outside information? This project asks how millennials in North Korea manage to live creatively under the threat of censorship and relatively freely under the constant watch of state surveillance by taking a deep dive into how intellectual property and copyright are creatively reconstituted in North Korea.

Photo by Travis Wise (Flickr)

What is K-pop?

Monday, March 16, 2020, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., UNC Ballroom (UNC 200)

Free event. Refreshments provided. A coffee reception begins at 1:50 p.m.

K-pop is a dynamic field with many faces: for the South Korean government, it is a prominent tool for the nation to promote its growing influence through soft power; for Asian-American youth, it provides an occasion to claim their cultural coolness; for industry insiders and consumers, it presents a unique entertainment form where various media formats converge; for business communities, it provides effective marketing opportunities. By taking into consideration these various factors that comprise what we call K-pop, this talk explores its dynamic history, practice, and cultural implications.