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Manse in the USA!: What K-pop Means in the United States
April 12, 2013 ♦ Binghamton University
Crystal S. Anderson, PhD ♦ Elon University
Despite its status as a subculture, Korean popular music of the Hallyu era (K-pop) has a significant cultural impact in the United States. Combining elements of Korean and other cultures, it appeals to fans of varying ages and ethnicities. Using surveys and analysis of online K-pop culture originating in the United States, this paper will show that hybridization explains the appeal of and the backlash against K-pop. K-pop appeals to American fans because it is simultaneously similar to and different from American popular culture. American fans recognize elements of American culture and they embrace Korean cultural elements. At the same time, critiques of K-pop in the United States target those very elements, mocking K-pop and its fans for the ways they diverge from mainstream American cultural norms. For many in the United States, K-pop represents a complex negotiation with a Korean global culture.
Hybrid Hallyu: The American Soul Tradition In K-pop
2013 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA)
Washington, DC • March 27-30, 2012
Crystal S. Anderson, Ph.D. • Elon University
Hallyu (Korean wave), a Korean cultural movement directed towards global audiences, represents hybrid and transnational sensibilities. Ever since the debut of Seo Taiji and the Boys in 1992, Korean popular music (K-pop) has been influenced by American soul and R&B. This paper examines the soul tradition in contemporary K-pop by interrogating the adoption and adaptation of the genre by several K-pop groups.
Seo Taiji: President of Culture is the first digital essay for Hallyu Harmony: A Cultural History of K-pop.
Pioneering a hybrid Korean popular music with global aspirations, Seo Taiji set the tone for contemporary K-pop through his fusion of multiple music genres with a Korean sensibility, global fan activity, and groundbreaking industry practices. These activities continue to be staples of K-pop today.
Read the entire digital essay at Hallyu Harmony.
Image: “Seo Taiji, Gaon Chart,” Hallyu Harmony, accessed October 9, 2012, http://kpop.omeka.net/items/show/48.
I just finished my first digital essay, Seo Taiji: President of Culture, for my digital humanities project on the cultural history of Hallyu-era Korean popular music, 1992-2009. But as I continue to build this Omeka site and design the project, I wonder: Is my project a digital humanities project? What am I doing? And am I doing it right? Such questions reflect recurrent anxiety about doing digital humanities with a popular culture project and how it might be perceived in the digital humanities and Korean popular culture studies realms.
Academic research suggests adults like K-pop for a variety of reasons, the chief of which is music. These findings complicate assumptions about the identity of international K-pop fans and their preferences. According to 638 responses among 18- to 30-year-olds from around the world, other top reasons include choreography and idols.
This past spring, I attended my first THATCamp at the University of Virginia. I was nervous. Although I’ve been a humanities person practically all my life, I was unsure if the collaborative projects I manage on Hallyu (Korean wave) popular culture on the Internet qualified as a digital humanities enterprise. After attending THATCampVA, I realized that my projects embraced several central elements of digital humanities.
By the time this post is published, Wikipedia (the English site) will not be accessible. That’s right, the place where you go to gather preliminary information on everything from the history of the letter “A” to breaking down the MBLAQ acronym will be blacked out on January 18, 2012. When you go to the community-driven Internet-based encyclopedia, all you will see is a black screen. That means for 24 hours, you won’t be able to access quick biographical information about Shakespeare or Martin Luther King, hear what a kayagum sounds like, or see the latest geographical or cultural statistics of Taiwan.Why? Because the site, along with other companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, are actively protesting the proposal of pieces of legislation called SOPA and PIPA.
University of California, Berkeley
Hello Hallyu!: Kpop Fictions, Facts and Fans in the Global Academy
KPK Presenters: Crystal S. Anderson, PhD, Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, M.S.L.S., Mark Jaehoon Byon, Kuylain Howard
All Kpop fans are tweenage Asian girls. Idols are manufactured and have no talent. Male Kpop idols aren’t “real” men. Kpop music is unoriginal. It doesn’t matter where you get your Kpop news.
What do you really know about Kpop fans, artists and the industry? How – and why – has Kpop spread around the world? KPK: Kpop Kollective will host an interactive session that will reveal surprising details about the heart of the Korean wave: the fans. We’ll talk about the unique connection Kpop fans have to the music, take a look at issues surrounding the evolution of the Kpop image as it has migrated to the United States, and explore the roles of social media and Internet publishing in the spread of Kpop music. Cover dance your way to our session and find out how We Do Hallyu!
Find out more at KPOPCON.com!
As you probably know, KPK does Hallyu. Most international fans of Kpop and Kdrama access their Korean popular through the Internet in general, and YouTube in particular. We know that’s where you are watching Hello Baby and Happy Together! We go where fans go, so we’re now on YouTube! Check out the KPK Channel! Like us! Tell your friends! And watch our channel because we will be bringing our insights to YouTube too!