Queer Korea: Identity, Tradition, and Activism
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This project is entitled “Queer Korea” and as such investigates issues surrounding sexual identity in contemporary South Korea. While there has been extensive research into non-heterosexual identities in other East Asian countries, especially China and Japan, this field in Korea is still essentially unexplored. Over the course of two years, I was able to conduct in depth interviews with 49 LGBT individuals living in South Korea, and those interviews became the raw material for this project. The central investigative focus analyzes how various iterations of gay identity intersect with Korean culture and the wider, global conversation on what it means to be a sexual minority. The initial focus on identity led me to postulate the existence of a “Queer Social Compact” which dictates the expression of sexual difference; I then worked to situate the current state of affairs facing LGBT individuals, and gay men in particular, within the wider socio-historical context of Korea. Finally, I examine the oeuvre of Heezy Yang, a gay activist and performance artist, in order to see how one individual is challenging the heteronormative strictures in South Korean society.
DepartmentGraduate Liberal Studies
CitationArnold, Matthew (2017). Queer Korea: Identity, Tradition, and Activism. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/13472.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Graduate Liberal Studies