Jung-Soon Shim

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Interweaving Performance Cultures

Fellow 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17

Jung-Soon Shim is currently a professor emerita at Soongsil University, Seoul, Korea, where she served as Director of the Humanities Research Center, of the Women’s Culture Research Center and as Dean of Women. She is also known as a theatre critic, dramaturge, translator and as an essayist. She is a former president of the Korean Theatre Studies Association and the Korean Association of Women in Theatre, of which she is also a founding member. She is the winner of the 2014 Yuhsukki Theatre Critics Award (KATC) and has been an executive committee member of the IFTR. She has authored or co-authored more than 30 publications in Korean, including Feminism and Korean Theatre (1999) and Korean Women Directors: History and their Aesthetics (2004). Her books, Korean Theatre and Culture in the Age of Globalization (2002) and Globalizing Shakespeare in Korea and Beyond (2009) won a Best Book Award from the Korean Ministry of Culture and the Korean Academy of Arts, respectively.

Research Project

The ‘New Woman’, Motherhood and Gender Performativity in Modern Korean Theatre

This project aims to re-visit and re-conceptualize the Korean reception of Western critical discourses on gender and their representations on the modern Korean stage from the perspective of the cultural interweaving of East and West during the 20th century. The project will be the first of its kind in Korea, re-investigating the formation of modern Korean theatre in a cross-cultural/cultural interweaving context.

More specifically, it aims to examine 1) how the Western notion of the ‘New Woman’/‘Modern Girl’ from the turn of the 19th to the 20th century came to impact early modern Korean theatre via Japan as the cultural mediator, as well as its later influence from the 1920s to 2010; 2) how the Western concept of the ‘New Woman’ subsequently helped transmute the maternal code that constituted the mainstay of the home/private sphere of Korean patriarchal family system; and 3) how it impacted modern Korean theatre dramaturgy and aesthetics.

Selected Publications

  • Butler, Judith. Performativity, Precarity and Sexual Politics. (Lecture given at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. June 8, 2009)
  • Fischer-Lichte, Erika (ed.) Global Ibsen: Performing Multiple Modernities. London: Routledge, 2011.
  • Shim, Jung-Soon. “Recasting the National Motherhood: Transactions of Western Feminisms in Korean Theatre”. Theatre Research International, Vol. 29.2, 2004, pp. 143-154.
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung