Borderland Dreams: Korean Chinese Migrants' Bodies, Money, and Time

Colloquium | December 5 | 4-6 p.m. | Doe Library, Room 180

 June Hee Kwon, California State University, Sacramento

 Center for Korean Studies (CKS)

This talk, Borderland Dreams: Korean Chinese Migrants' Bodies, Money and Time, examines the remittance-driven everyday lives of Korean Chinese who move back and forth between Seoul, South Korea, and the Korean Chinese Autonomous Prefecture of Yanbian, China, an ethnic zone bordering North Korea. In the context of the kinship reunions and ethnic alliances between Korean Chinese (ethnic Koreans in China) and South Korea that flourished after the Cold War, I conducted field research in China and South Korea for the last decade, tracing the circuit of Korean Chinese transnational labor migration that has been ongoing over the last two decades. Informed by theories of mobility and immobility, time and value, affect and ethics, my work conceptualizes rhythm as a bio-political subject-making principle that mediates time and space, present and future, regularity and irregularity. Whereas most observers understand transnational migration as either movement between spaces or simultaneous belonging to multiple places, I reframe transnational migration as an assemblage of different perceptions and practices of time under the competing rhythms that shape transnational bodies and money flows.

Dr. June Hee Kwon is a cultural anthropologist who joins the Asian Studies Program as an Assistant Professor. Her research focuses on transnational migration and development, gendered labor and class formation, ethnic/national conflict and reconciliation, and humanitarianism and human rights. Her area of expertise spans contemporary Korea (North and South), China, and Japan, and includes postcolonial and post-Cold War interconnections and political economy across the East Asia/Pacific Rim region. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. Prior to joining California State University Sacramento, she was an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Department of East Asian Studies at New York University and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh.

 cks@berkeley.edu, 510-642-5674