Queering The Korean Wave: An International Symposium (Dec 2022)


Queering The Korean Wave across the Asia-Pacific
An International Symposium

8th to 9th December 2022

Department of Media, Communications, Creative Arts, Languages, and Literature
Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Supported by the Academy of Korean Studies, Korean Studies Grant No. AKS-2022-R033

Over the past two decades, the rise of international fandom for South Korean popular culture has attracted significant commentary. Buoyed by passionate fans of K-pop groups like BTS, the global success of K-dramas such as Squid Game, and practices like mukbang that have become ubiquitous across social media, the Korean Wave has radically transformed global popular culture, decentred Western media, and created new media hierarchies focussed on East Asia.

Despite a wealth of theorisation concerning how the Korean Wave has destabilised global media circuits centred on North America and Western Europe, however, there remains one conceptual domain that is still under-developed: how has the Korean Wave “queered” global popular culture and, in so doing, challenged the gendered status quo? In particular, there is a need to consider how the Korean Wave contributes to emerging networks of queer media and fandoms across the broader Asia-Pacific (especially within East and Southeast Asia).

The aim of this online symposium is to draw upon the theoretical traditions of queer theory to develop new understandings of the Korean Wave that specifically focusses on how Korean media and their fandoms challenge ideological norms in a variety of transnational contexts. Over two days, 16 scholars from around the globe will come together on Zoom to think about what it means to “queer” the Korean Wave.

Interested academics, fans, and media professionals are more than welcome to attend the public sessions. Presentation abstracts and author biographies can be found here.

The recorded sessions from the Symposium can be found here.

Thursday 8th December

Session 1: 1.30pm-2.30pm (Public)

Opening Keynote: Thomas Baudinette – “Unpacking the Queer Potentials of the Korean Wave: Reflections from Fieldwork in Australia, Japan, and the Philippines” (1.30pm-2.30pm)

Session 2: 3.00pm – 4.30pm (Public)

  1. Mathieu Berbiguier – “(Dis)identifications of Queer K-pop Fans in the Online Sphere” (3.00pm-3.30pm)
  2. Olivia Faith George – “Queer Counterpublic and Queer Fan Activism in South Korean K-pop Fandom: Rainbow MooMoo as a Case Study” (3.30pm-4.00pm)
  3. Janey Umback – “‘Am I Simping, or Do I Want to be Him?’: Remixing Jung Kook and Gender on TikTok” (4.00pm-4.30pm)

Session 3: 6.00pm – 7.30pm (Closed)

Roundtable Discussion: All Participants

Moderated by Thomas Baudinette and Kristine M. Santos – “What Does it Mean to ‘Queer’ the Korean Wave? Debating Queer Theory and Practice in Korean Wave Studies” (6.00pm- 7.30pm)

Friday 9th December

Session 4: 9.30am – 11.30am (Public)

  1. Chelsea Wenzhu Xu – “No Sissies on TV: Subculture, Neoliberalism, and Heteronormativity in Chinese Idol Survival Shows” (9.30am-10.00am)
  2. Alicia Kang – “Real Women in Korean Film and TV: Progressive Portrayals of Unmarried, Elderly, and Lesbian Women (10.00am-10.30am)
  3. Jonathan Jae-An Crisman – “Ambivalent Queerness: Navigating Heteronormative Cultures and Fan Desires in The King’s Affection” (10.30am-11.00am)
  4. Jiwoo Ha – “Extraordinary Attorney Woo: Redefining Disability and Masculinity in K-drama” (11.00am-11.30am)

Session 5: 1.30pm-2.30pm (Public)

Keynote: Kristine M. Santos – “Exploring Philippine Queer Possibilities through Transformative K-Pop Imaginations Online” (1.30pm-2.30pm)

Session 6: 3.00pm – 5.00pm (Public)

  1. Mylene T. De Guzman – “The Ships are Sailing: A Preliminary Study on Digital Fandoms and BLACKPINK Stan Twitter” (3.00pm-3.30pm)
  2. Zishan Lai and Michelle H. S. Ho – “‘Banning Sissy Idols to Clean Up the Entertainment Industry’: Queer Practices of Shipping BTS in Mainland China” (3.30pm-4.00pm)
  3. Rosallia Domingo – “What is the Future of Queer Activism?: A Look at LGBTQ+ Representation in K-Dramas (4.00pm-4.30pm)
  4. Albert Graves – “White Dreams: The Korea-Japan Imaginary for Gay Men in Southeast Asia” (4.30pm-5.30pm)

Session 7: 7.00pm – 9.00pm (Public)

  1. Asna Kadambot Mohamed Rasheed and Devanshi Sarin – “Almost-Kisses, Grabbing Crotches: OnlyOneOf, ‘Queerbaiting’, and the Politics of Dislike (7.00pm-7.30pm)
  2. Julia Trzcińska – “‘Your Sexual Orientation Based on Your Bias’: Queerness as a New Default in Online K-pop Fan Communities” (7.30pm-8.00pm)
  3. Mia Xinrui Liu – “Queering Mainstream Social Media: Organized Weibo Queer Writing and Consumption in Chinese BTS Fandom” (8.00pm-8.30pm)
  4. Thomas Baudinette – “Are You a Soft or Hard stan? Exploring the Affective Ethics of Shipping Culture among LGBTQ+ Fans of K-pop Idols” (8.30pm-9.00pm)

If you have any questions about the symposium, please direct them to the convener: tom.baudinette@mq.edu.au