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Conversations about music, history and society in the Republic of Korea.

Conversations about music, history and society in the Republic of Korea.
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Conversations about music, history and society in the Republic of Korea.




Too Different to be Chinese, 'Not Good Enough' to be Korean

With a unique cultural and geographical history going back centuries, the ‘Joseonjok’ are considered too different to be fully Chinese in China while simultaneously 'not good enough to fit in’ in South Korea. In this conversation, writer Eddie Park joins host Andre Goulet to discuss his recent investigative reporting from the Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Yanbian, China. This interview was recorded on October 25th, 2018. Read Park's piece at KOREA EXPOSÉ:...


ROK Military vs. Human Rights: Court rules in favor of Conscientious Objectors

Amnesty International says that there are more than 230 conscientious objectors currently incarcerated in the country. But a Constitutional Court ruling this summer, a ruling that states that the government must provide alternative civilian roles for those who refuse to take up arms due to religious or political reasons, sends a clear message that conscientious objection to military service is a human right. On this episode of ké cast, Korea Expose staff writer Jieun Choi joins host Andre...


Jeju's Yemeni Asylum Seekers Reveal Korean Xenophobia

South Korean society has long been intolerant of outsiders, but the outrage sparked this summer by a thousand Yemeni asylum seekers on Jeju Island illustrates the depth of the country’s xenophobia. On this episode of ké cast, Korea Exposé Publisher Se-Woong Koo joins host André Goulet to discuss why, despite its vaunted democracy and economy, compassion and humanitarian instincts are in short supply in South Korea. Read Se-Woong's piece 'Tyranny of South Korea's Majority Against Refugees' at...


Spycam Porn: Culture of Voyeurism leads to Summer of Protest for Korean Women

This is 'ké cast' Season 2, Episode 1. Produced in collaboration with Korea Exposé, and independent media organization that speaks to a global audience about the two Koreas in a way that goes beyond cliché and superficial analysis, look for this podcast at the beginning of each month through 2018. On this episode, Korea Exposé managing editor Haeryun Kang joins 'The Korea File' host Andre Goulet to explore this summer's massive women-led protests against spycam and South Korea's pervasive...


Reality TV Diplomacy: Pageantry Trumps Tension as US-NK Summit Proceeds

Former U.S. diplomat, speechwriter, and commentator on U.S. foreign policy in Asia Mintaro Oba joins host Andre Goulet to discuss this month’s on again off again US-North Korea meeting how the Moon administration’s heroic heavy lifting has kept the summit on track. Plus: a risk-free template for how to be a North Korea pundit. This conversation was recorded on June 1st, 2018. Music on this episode is from the album 'The Best of Yi Moon-sae'.


The Promise of Peace vs. The Doomsday Machine

John Carl Baker, a fellow with Washington, DC think tank The Ploughshares Fund joins host Andre Goulet to talk about peace, nuclear proliferation and this historic week on the Korean peninsula. This conversation was recorded on May 2nd, 2018. Music on this episode, 'But I Like You' is from Busan indie rock band Say Sue Me. Find their new album 'Where We Were Together' on Bandcamp. Mastered by Chris Hernandez at Studio Petite Palais in Montreal.


Summit Spring: DPRK, ROK, US + PRC in Diplomatic Dialogue

Jenny Town (Assistant Director of the US-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies/Managing Editor at joins host Andre Goulet to discuss Washington's reaction to the surprise announcement of a Donald Trump/Kim Jong-un summit and- what can we expect from this month’s upcoming inter-Korean talks. How do the conditions surrounding the summit compare to the Roh Moo-hun/Kim Jong-il meeting of 2007? Plus: John Bolton as White House National Security...


Peace Olympics Lead to Shock Diplomatic Breakthrough

Steven Denney (Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto/Senior Editor at joins host Andre Goulet to discuss the diplomatic delegation's visit to Pyeongyang and how Korean nationalism and American obstructionism continue to clash in the wake of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games. Plus: January's weird Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula, organized by the Canadian government and the U.S. State Department, comes under...


Ilbe and the alt-Right: Fascism and Conservative Politics in South Korea

In this conversation with prominent blogger Ask A Korean, we unpack the spy-ops and psy-ops that have informed more than a decade of alt-Right agitation in South Korea. Plus: a look into the anti-democratic overreach of the National Intelligence Service and a deep dive into the origins of Ilbe, Korea’s nihilistic proto-Reddit web forum and 4chan and Breitbart predecessor. And, an analysis of the diminished status of South Korea’s political right-wing today. Also, three fundamental questions...


2018 a Year of Possibility: Inter-Korean Talks and the Pyeongchang Olympics

As the Koreas begin high level diplomatic talks, host Andre Goulet is joined by photojournalist Jules Tomi for a wide-ranging conversation on the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympic Games and the confluence of factors, including chaotic American political leadership, that may be leading to an easing of tensions on the peninsula. Plus: critiquing voyeuristic journalism, apocalyptic diplomacy by Twitter and debating the perilous potential of possible reunification. This conversation was recorded on...


20th Century Diaspora: Korea's Transborder Identity Politics

Academics have long examined the relationship between nation-states and their "internal others," like immigrants and ethnic or racial minorities. Now, with her award-winning book ‘Contested Embrace: Transborder Membership Politics in Twentieth-Century Korea’ Jaeeun Kim shifts this focus to look at how a state relates to people it sees as diasporic "external members". In this conversation, Kim shares some of the ideas behind her comparative, historical, and ethnographic study of the complex...


American Political Instability and the North Korea Nuclear Crisis

The Nation magazine’s resident Korea expert Tim Shorrock discusses American political instability, assesses the unthinkable cost of a new Korean civil war and examines the international community's role in resolving the nuclear crisis. Become a sustaining patron of this podcast at Music on this episode includes the national anthems of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.


The Commodification of Dokdo Island: Nationalism in the Marketplace

What does it mean to treat nationalism as a commodity? In this conversation, Nam Center Postdoctoral Fellow Jiun Bang discusses the commodification surrounding the Dokdo/Takeshima dispute, and challenges some of the traditional assumptions behind our perceptions of nationalism. And- a conversation on the strange linguistic character of the name Ehwa Womans University. Bang shares some little known facts about her alma mater. All this and more on episode 67 of The Korea File. This episode was...


North Korea Embraces Changing Economy: Choson Exchange in the DPRK

Since 2009, the Singapore-based non-profit has facilitated training workshops for everyday North Koreans in Economics, Entrepreneurship and Urban Planning in metropolitan Pyongyang and elsewhere around the country. In this conversation, Chosun Exchange Associate Director of Research Dr. Andray Abrahamian discusses how the introduction of some aspects of a free market economy under the Kim Jong-eun regime is changing the way North Koreans look at capitalism. We’ll also talk about the...


Polling, Public Opinion and the Impeachment of Park Geun-hye

How effective is political polling today? With social trends pointing to a continuing decrease in the rate of democratic participation, in South Korea and elsewhere around the world, how can polls remain representative? In our conversation prior to his recent lecture at the University of Michigan, UC Berkley Professor Taeku Lee discusses how the political science of public polling, until recently a primarily American area of study, has gained academic traction in South Korea over the last...


Tributary Twilight: The Qing Dynasty in Late 19th Century Korea

Joshua Van Lieu is a historian of 20th century East Asian politics and international relations and an authority on the histories of Joseon Korea and Late Imperial China. In this conversation, Van Lieu discusses the diplomatic intrigue of the Qing-Korea relationship and explains how the pageantry of tributary practice successfully manipulated Western preconceptions of the “unknowable orient”. This episode was produced in collaboration with the University of Michigan’s Nam Center for Korean...


Nation Interrupted: Literary Exchanges Across the DMZ pt. 2

The Koreas remain officially at war, a situation unchanged since 1953 when the Armistice Agreement, signed by China, North Korea and the United States, brought an end to active hostilities on the peninsula. But the Armistice was not a peace settlement and tensions along the DMZ, the 38th parallel, have continued ever since. This long stalemate between the divided Koreas has prevented most kinds of social, cultural and political exchanges, with some exceptions. In the conclusion to our...


Nation Interrupted: Literary Exchanges Across the DMZ pt. 1

In his research I. Jonathan Kief, a Korea Foundation post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan’s Nam Center for Korean Studies, explores an unconventional perspective on the relationship between writers in North and South Korea. Here, in the first of a two-part conversation, he discusses the real as well as imagined ways in which literature of the post-war period managed to cross the 38th parallel and attempts to outline a more complicated and nuanced understanding of what division...


The Capitalist Unconscious: Migration, Imagination and Unification

In her recent book, ‘The Capitalist Unconscious: From Korean Unification to Transnational Korea’, professor of sociology Hyun-ok Park, of Toronto's York University, demonstrates that the unseen currents of capitalism, rather than territorial integration or family union, are driving a movement towards peninsular integration and a united Korea. In this conversation, prior to her recent lecture at the University of Michigan’s Nam Center for Korean Studies, she discusses how migrant labor,...


Korean Evangelicals: The University Bible Fellowship Saves America

At a recent lecture at the University of Michigan's Nam Center for Korean Studies, Pepperdine University sociologist Rebecca Kim spoke on the phenomena of South Korean evangelical missionaries proselytizing in the United States. Exploring the relationship between the two countries since World War 2, her talk addresses how Korean missionaries with the University Bible Fellowship attempted to evangelize the college-educated and why the UFB's outreach efforts focused racially only on white...