Abstract Updated (May 2013)

Abstract (May 21, 2013)

This thesis research project is intended to re-invigorate a discussion on the need for Korean immigrant communities in the U.S. to narrate or represent, on our own terms, our struggles with U.S. imperialism, migration, and racial marginalization cultivated by American culture. Through the processes of reclaiming our history(s) and re-configuring the modes by which we represent our experiences, we can engender new ways of re-constituting our cultural identities and empower our communities to resist the culture of racial subordination. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate how a group of Korean American artists, activists, and community organizers are attempting to coordinate collective approaches to oral historical research, by which we can visualize the gaps within the collective consciousness and memories of Korean immigrants. My objective is to observe my role in the processes of coordinating group discussions on goals and strategies, training sessions, story-sharing workshops, and practice for applying methods of oral historical research. The participating coordinators aim not only to find other artists and activists with whom to gather the oral testimonies but also to work together with them to re-interpret the testimonies for creative artistic representations, most likely manifested through radical performance presentations inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed and South Korean protest theater known as madang-guk. In examining this whole process, I intend to make sense of how new cultural processes of visualizing and representing collective memories can engender sites of radical pedagogy in which to prepare activists to challenge the dominant ideological forces reinforcing white superiority and the violence of U.S. neocolonialism and military expansion.

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