Korean Studies Colloquium, NYU on October 25

The New York trip has become a bit of a speaking tour. I’ve agreed to give another lecture while I’m there — a Korean Studies Colloquium talk at NYU on Monday night. It’s on the missionary rescue narrative surrounding undocumented North Korean migrants in China, the same topic as the shorter lecture I’m doing at Rutgers, but for a more knowledgeable audience, so I’ll have to put more work into it. It should be of interest to students, academics and activists interested in religion, humanitarianism, and Korea/diaspora politics.

Monday, October 25 2010, 7pm

“Beyond good intentions and evil regimes: North Koreans in Korean/American missionary custody”
Silver Center, Room 208
62 Waverly Place, New York
Korean Studies Colloquium @ New York University

Since the early 1990s, tens of thousands of North Koreans have left their famine-stricken homes in search of food and livelihood. Living without legal status in northeast China, over 70% of these North Koreans are women, many of whom are trafficked into sex work or forced marriages. In this bleak situation, South Korean and Korean American evangelical Christian missionaries and religious NGOs carry out significant humanitarian advocacy work. But with no systems for transparency or accountability in place, there is also concern for how the missionary networks regulate and discipline the expectations and experiences of North Korean border crossers in their custody. Drawing on interviews and ethnographic research on Korean/American evangelical missions, Dr. Han will discuss how the missionary networks raise questions about intentionality and custody.