DC talk on transpacific homophobia and queer activism

Recently at the George Washington University in Washington DC, I had the privilege of presenting a paper alongside three of my research collaborators in the AKS-supported Urban Aspirations project. It was part of GWU’s 24th Hahn Moo Sook Colloquium in the Korean Humanities, an annual event in the honour of the well-known novelist.

I argue in this paper that the transnational circuit of homophobia notably led by Christian conservatives is often oversimplified as a unilateral imposition or transplantation of the agenda of the American Christian Right. The recent emergence of political homophobia in South Korea, for example, is commonly characterized as mimicry, fashioned after the American evangelicals who notoriously pursued the so-called moral majority agenda concerning abortion and homosexuality. I do not deny the transpacific resemblance of this historical conjuncture, but I also argue for a more nuanced analysis with attention to South Korean and diasporic Korean American minority politics. By examining place-specific histories and imbricated political geographies of religiously inflected homophobia and queer activism, this paper imagines a more diffuse and multifocal constitution of transpacific politics.

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