This special issue responds to the well-established and global subculture of fans of Korean popular music (K-pop) and Korean television drama (K-drama). K-pop and K-drama are the products of Hallyu, a cultural movement from Korea directed towards the global stage that originated in the late 1990s. Recent global successes of Korean artists such as Psy, Girls Generation, 2NE1 and BigBang as well as K-drama actors such as Lee Min Ho and Jang Geun Suk represent only a portion of the vibrant and diverse fandom. This special issue seeks to examine the uniqueness of K-pop and K-drama fandoms and their contribution to global fandom scholarship.
While the world has been familiar with online video for a while now, “screencasting” is a relatively new term in our technological vocabulary. Screencasting is similar to a screenshot, but instead of having static images, it’s a video of what is happening on your computer screen. This can be a powerful tool to teach people using visuals and audio. At least that’s how Dr. Crystal Anderson, a professor in the English department, uses it.
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.
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.
She Is Straight Gangster: Challenging Gender Roles in Korean Dramas
Dr. Crystal S. Anderson
Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities
January 8-13, 2012
Korean television dramas (Kdramas), particularly those that are historically based, represent sprawling stories that blend history with culture. Often consisting of high production values and unfolding over 50+ episodes, these Kdramas reconstruct historical narratives and legendary stories. They also infuse a contemporary sensibility by drawing on nontraditional notions of gender, heroism, cunning and valor. While such Kdramas are broadcast to Korean audiences, non-Korean, English-speaking audiences from around the world also view these dramas via Internet sites such as Drama Fever and Crunchyroll.com. These global audiences construct alternative femininities related to the female characters that challenge traditional notions of gender. Using qualitative methods and discourse analysis, I argue that global audiences construct female characters in ways that challenge traditional notions of gender. In the 2009 critically-acclaimed and popular Kdrama, Queen Seondeok, Korean women are represented as aggressive major power brokers in national politics, rather than passive bystanders, even as they occupy more traditional historical roles for women. They also exert power over men who are characterized as more powerful both politically and martially, using cunning rather than their feminine wiles. Finally, women also engage each other in ways that showcase their intellectual talents. Such constructions by global audiences allow for more diverse notions of gender in popular culture.