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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.




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...

Duration: 00:40:22

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...

Duration: 00:32:40

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.

Duration: 00:30:11

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...

Duration: 00:23:39

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...

Duration: 00:26:57

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...

Duration: 00:17:10

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...

Duration: 00:14:32

TKF in Washington, DC: Behind the Mic at the Korean Kontext Podcast

Jenna Gibson is the Director of Communications at the Korea Economic Institute in Washington DC, a think tank working to promote dialogue and understanding on economic, political and security relations between South Korea and the United States. Gibson also hosts and produces the KEI’s Korean Kontext podcast, a weekly selection of interviews focusing on the experts, artists and opinion makers that shape the US-Korea policy world. Here, Gibson talks about her own background with South Korea,...

Duration: 00:18:59

Jeju's Osaka Diaspora: K-Pop and Code Switching in Tsuruhashi

On this episode, UCLA PhD candidate in Asian Languages and Cultures Tommy Tran talks about his research concerning Japan’s Korean diaspora, with a focus on Osaka’s 80,000 residents with roots on Jeju Island. Join us as we discuss dialect code-switching, Halla Mountain botany and shamanic deity worship in a metropolis of 19,000,000 people. This is the 2nd of a two part conversation. Music on this episode: Hwan Keum-sim's 1989 performance of 'Aldeulhan Dangsin' ( ??? - ??? ??)...

Duration: 00:18:59

A History of Korean Social Movements

Matt VanVolkenburg's prolific blog 'Gusts of Popular Feeling' celebrates it's 10th year of analysis on Korean society, history, urban space, film and current events this month. In the first of a 3-part interview, Matt discusses his ongoing research on all things Korean, as well as the history of social movements in the south half of the peninsula. For an epic 10 year run of writing check out VanVolkenburg's archived work at Musicon this episode: ? ? ?- ? ? ?...

Duration: 00:26:29

On Korea's Cults

In part one of a two-part interview, writer and journalist Jon Dunbar discusses the seedy reputation of Korean cult culture, including Cheonghaejin Marine, the company behind the sinking of the MV Sewol. For more on Cheonghaejin Marine's alleged culpability in the Sewol's sinking, go to Jon Dunbar's writing and photography can be found at

Duration: 00:12:59

Jeju's 4.3 Massacre Remembered

On April 3rd, 1948, Jeju Island was caught in a civil war-like time of violence and human rights abuses. This is when the period known as the Jeju Uprising and Massacre began. The Korea File spoke with participants at the Jeju 4.3 Commemorative Street Festival last Friday to hear their impressions of this tragic event in Jeju's history. Live music performances include Hallasanhoe's Songs for Jeju 4.3, Dedicated to 4.3/Antiwar Peace by the Parkbo Band and The Changwon Grandmothers Singing...

Duration: 00:23:30

Jeju's Unregulated Growth

Tommy Tran is a PhD student at the University of California at Los Angeles in the department of Asian Languages and Cultures. His primary focus is urban ethnography in Korean Studies. In this interview he discusses what happens when Jeju Island, a former periphery of Korea, becomes a premier testing ground for development highlighting the contradiction between urban expansion and cultural and ecological preservation. He also speaks about his (extremely painful) 7 day, 150 km pilgrimage...

Duration: 00:25:29

BEN SPENCER: Chuja Exit Interview

Ben Spencer made it through 6 months on the biggest hardship posting in Korea's EPIK public school program, the rapidly shrinking fishing community of 2000 on Chuja Island, 2 hours north-west of Jeju by ferry. I spoke with him in October and agreed to catch up again at the end of his contract to see how he had maintained morale and motivation in such an isolated environment. In this exit interview two days prior to leaving Korea forever and returning to life, love and home in Ireland,...

Duration: 00:25:30

FANCY MAN live show + interview

Fancy folk trio FANCY MAN on playing in Jeju's music scene, using the school music room as a practice space and the joys of sharing a teaching gig with your bandmates. You can find more music and videos including Christmas Card From Korea (part 2) at This interview and live performance was recorded at Jeju City's Magpie Brewing Co. on 2/20/2015.

Duration: 00:26:00

BROTHER ANTHONY: Korea's 20th Century

Brother Anthony (???) is President of the Royal Asiatic Society of Korea, an academic organization which has participated in Korean intellectual and cultural life since 1900 . He`s also a scholar of Korean studies, a translator of Korean poetry and an expert on The Korean Way of Tea. In the 2nd of a two-part conversation he speaks about his work translating poet Ko Un (??), the changes he's witnessed firsthand in Korean society in the last 35 years and the unreality created by the division...

Duration: 00:25:00

BROTHER ANTHONY has eclectic interests

Brother Anthony, or ???, is President of the Royal Asiatic Society of Korea (, an academic organization which has participated in Korean intellectual and cultural life since 1900 . He`s also a scholar of Korean studies, a translator of Korean poetry and an expert on The Korean Way of Tea. In the first of a two-part conversation he speaks about the Society's history and it's relationship with the country, discusses his 37 years as a member of Seoul`s academic community...

Duration: 00:20:30

MOUNTAINS live show + interview

Math-rock trio MOUNTAINS on Daegu's thriving music scene, the joys of playing Seoul and the fight to promote live music in the south of the peninsula. Live music recording from their performance at Itaewon's Thunderhorse Tavern, 1/30/2015

Duration: 00:20:00

TBS 101.3FM journalist CHANCE DORLAND

On this episode: musician and journalist Chance Dorland on the ups and downs of being a working journalist in Seoul and how the Peacecorps nearly (literally) killed him. Check out Chance's work online at, and at, download his podcast 'Chance and Dan Do Korea' on iTunes and listen to him live on the airwaves with his segment 'Chance Encounters' Monday Through Friday from 18:10-20:00 on TBS 101.3 FM's 'Primetime' in Seoul. A recording of music from...

Duration: 00:22:30

MICHAEL BREEN: On a Unified Korea

Michael Breen has been working in Korea for more than 30 years as a journalist with The Guardian, The Korea Times and others. He's the author of 'The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want and Where Their Future Lies' and the CEO of Insight Communications Consultants. In the second of a two-part interview he discusses life under South Korea's 1980's dictatorship, the perils and possibilties of Korean unification and what the future holds for the country and its people.

Duration: 00:23:29

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