Call For Papers: The Hallyu Project, A Post45 Contemporaries Cluster
Submit abstracts and bios to Yin Yuan ([log in to unmask]) by March 1, 2022.

CFP website:
Post45 Contemporaries website:

THE HALLYU PROJECT: A Post45 Contemporaries Cluster

Squid Game’s global impact barely needs introduction. The first ever
television series to top Netflix daily charts in every single country where
the streaming service is available. Netflix’s most-watched series as of
October 2021, a distinction previously held by the American period drama
Bridgerton. What is more impressive is that the South Korean show achieved
this in a non-English language, proving that Parasite’s cultural
breakthrough in 2019 was not simply an anomaly. Perhaps English-speaking
viewers have finally, to quote Parasite director Bong Joon-ho, overcome
“the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles.”

But why now?

The Hallyu Project cluster invites contributors to think about how, why,
and whither Korean popular culture is resonating worldwide at this moment
in time. What distinctive structures of feeling do Korean cultural products
offer in a world that must increasingly reckon with neoliberal precarity,
physical displacements, and global systems of exploitation? How has the
production and reception of Korean pop culture opened up questions of
racial capitalism, super-exploitation, neocolonialism, cultural hybridity,
media trans-nationalization, and fandom culture?

Squid Game shines a light on these issues, but it is far from the only
Korean show to do so. Reflective of what has been termed South Korea’s
“compressed modernity,” in which explosive post-war economic growth also
led to tremendous social upheaval, Korean television and film tend to
underscore the ways in which individual lives are caught within broader
socioeconomic, gender, national, and imperial contexts. Tracing all the way
back to the Golden Age of South Korean Cinema (1955-72), these narratives
have long been invested in exploring how, as Kathleen McHugh writes,
“personal frustration becomes the basis for interpersonal identification
that is at once familial, social, and political.”

What new understandings emerge when we locate Squid Game within this long
history of performing the personal as the political? How is that politics
complicated by the ambivalent status of the Hallyu commodity, a commodity
produced both to express domestic concerns and for exporting to a global
audience? Is Hallyu necessarily self-conscious? How are Hallyu products
differently received by Koreans, the Korean diaspora, countries outside of
Korea, seasoned Hallyu fans, and other international viewers? What
implications does this hold for our understanding of Hallyu and online

Suggested lines of inquiry for cluster contributions include, but are not
limited to:

-The unstable meanings of Hallyu: What is it, who owns it, who is it for,
what ends does it serve?

-Cultural analyses of Korean media content: Analyze Korean tv shows, music,
film, variety programs, and other relevant narrative/audiovisual modes
within a domestic and/or transnational context. What makes them distinctive?

-Hallyu’s (neo)colonial roots and/or (post)colonial implications

-Cross-cultural comparisons: Compare Korean and non-Korean popular media.
As an example: What distinguishes Squid Game from other cultural offerings
within the “battle royale” genre, such as America’s Hunger Games and
Japan’s Alice in Borderland?

-The self-consciousness of Hallyu products: their mutual references and
porous boundaries. As an example: How does Squid Game’s themes, motifs, and
eye-popping sets connect and/or consciously allude to other Korean cultural
exports, including variety game shows, K-pop, and other internationally
popular tv shows?

-Digital Hallyu: The influence of streaming and social media platforms on
Korean popular culture

-Hallyu fandom: Fan practices and their potentially transformative power

-Hallyu's uneven reception across different communities and cultures:
Koreans, the Korean diaspora, the Global South, the Global North, seasoned
fans, novice viewers, etc.

What is a Post45 Contemporaries “cluster”?

Post45 Contemporaries provides a forum for writers to converse with one
another more directly and informally than in traditional academic
publications. These curated conversations, or “clusters,” range from sets
of relatively autonomous short essays on a common theme to extended
epistolary exchanges.

Please visit the Post45 Contemporaries website (linked at top of this post)
for examples of what clusters look and sound like.

What should a contribution sound like?

Intellectually stimulating, but conversational; rigorous, but accessible.
Designed to spark thought and debate, at dinner tables and in undergraduate
classrooms alike.

Not too long—about 3,000 words or so. Multi-modal and alternative formats
also welcomed!

Editorial Process and Timeline:

Abstracts due: March 1, 2022
Response to abstracts: March 15, 2022
First drafts due: August 15, 2022
Second drafts due: October 2022
Publication: Winter 2022


Please submit a 300-word abstract and a 100-word bio to Yin Yuan (
[log in to unmask]) by March 1, 2022. Questions can also be directed to
this same email. We look forward to hearing from you!

Yin Yuan

Yin Yuan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Saint Mary's College of California

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