Ruth Barraclough presents "Red Love and Betrayal in the Making of North Korea: Comrade Hô Jông-suk"

Tuesday, October 22

3-4:30 pm
Ahn House

Dr. Ruth Barraclough is a senior lecturer in the School of Culture, History and Language at Australian National University.  She is the author of Factory Girl Literature: Sexuality, Violence, and Representation in Industrializing Korea.

Barraclough will present her paper entitled "Red Love and Betrayal in the Making of North Korea: Comrade Hô Jông-suk," moderated by a discussant and open to discussion and feedback from the audience.

Paper abstract:

This talk looks at the life of one the most famous communist feminists of modern Korea, Hô Jông-suk. Hô Jông-suk’s political career and personal life span an extraordinary slice of modern Korean history. A rare bureaucrat who never fell out of favour in North Korea, Hô Jông-suk was early in her life famous for her scandalous love affairs with leading male communists. Rather than depict Hô Jông-suk as an isolated exceptional figure, this talk endeavours to place her in context as a member of a political family, amidst a peer group of exiles and free thinkers in Shanghai and later Seoul. Hô Jông-suk bears comparison also with socialist and communist woman orators and leaders elsewhere in the world who embraced political life and party leadership in the early to mid-twentieth century. To follow her story, which was always a mixture of the public and the private, this paper examines the lengthy literary trail generated around Hô Jông-suk. Concerned with questions of gender and power, this talk looks at why female political passion was so prominent in the 1920s; the function of promiscuity in underground communist circles in the early 1930s; and how personal the 1957 purges were in North Korea.

Open to the public but must read paper beforehand.
Please RSVP to ksi@dornsife.usc.edu to obtain a copy of the paper.

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