Join us for the next VizCult lecture of our Spring 2017 series, to be held at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, in FA-258. Immanuel Kim, assistant professor in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies at Binghamton University, with speak on ”The Kimchi Battle: Defending the Nation in North Korean Comedy Film Our Fragrance.” Those who wish to view the film before the talk, can find it online.
In 2003, North Korea released a comedy film called Our Fragrance that polarized Korean and Western cultures, particularly in regard to food. The film is premised on the importance of defending the Korean tradition from foreign impositions, reflecting North Korea’s withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003. The film uses kimchi as that which symbolizes cultural homogenization, nationalism and cosmopolitanism by projecting two interrelated points: first, kimchi is an indigenous Korean tradition that needs to be preserved to reify national identity; and second, kimchi signifies revolutionary ideals of defending the country from foreign powers.
In this presentation, Kim examines the discourse of kimchi in Our Fragrance as that which opens up the possibilities of understanding North Korea’s political culture and the state’s persistent engagement with the international community to legitimate its statehood and perpetuate national division.