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Queering the Straits: Session A Virtual Workshop – Feb 19

February 19, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Series One
“Remembering the ‘Modern Boy’: Gender, Empire, and Nostalgia”
Friday, February 19 – Saturday, 20, 2021
7:00 PM – 9:45 PM
To register, please complete this form.

We are pleased to announce the first in a series of three Zoom workshops on the theme of “QUEERING THE STRAITS: UNRULY SUBJECTS ACROSS MODERN KOREAN AND JAPANESE STUDIES” to be held in 2021. These workshops are intended to facilitate greater communication and collaboration among scholars of Japan and Korea who work on issues of gender and sexuality, often in isolation from one another. We believe that such “queer” dialogues across borders and cultures offer a challenging yet vital opportunity to forge new intellectual and institutional bonds at a time when powerful forces continue to silence, erase, and marginalize seemingly minor subjects and their important points of view.

The first workshop of the series, “REMEMBERING THE ‘MODERN BOY’: GENDER, EMPIRE, AND NOSTALGIA,” will take place over the weekend of 19–21 February 2021. (See below for a detailed schedule.) The initial workshop offers a context for tracing the normative operations of gender across the past century of Korean and Japanese history by examining contending formations not of homosexual but of heterosexual masculinity. It focuses on the figure of the “modern boy” (known locally by such names as modan bōimodŏn ppoi, and mobo), a prominent challenger to early twentieth-century codes of orthodox masculinity and a ubiquitous presence in stereotypical depictions of imperial Japan and colonial Korea alike. Compared to such female contemporaries as the “modern girl” and “new woman,” this conspicuous male performer of non-normative gender remains remarkably understudied, a silence that the present workshop seeks to explain as well as to fill. A panel of five speakers and six distinguished commenters will approach the “modern boy” from a variety of chronological and disciplinary perspectives, addressing such questions as the role of mass media in circulating gender stereotypes, the isomorphisms and asymmetries of gender hegemony and state power, and the functions of colonial nostalgia.

Preregistration is required for this event. We particularly invite the participation of scholars whose work focuses on gender and sexuality in East Asia. Subsequent workshops will address the themes of “Cross-Strait Cultures: Performance, Media, and History” (April 2021) and “Development and Desire Across Uneven Spaces” (Fall 2021).

A few days before the start of the workshop, we will send an email to all registered participants with a link to the event. If you have any questions or trouble with registration, please email us at queeringthestraits@gmail.com.

Todd Henry & Greg Pflugfelder


Friday, 19 February, 7:00 PM – 9:45 PM

7:00 – 7:10
Todd A. Henry, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of California, San Diego
Introductory Remarks


7:10 – 7:30
Monica W. Cho, PhD Candidate, Department of East Asian Studies, University of California, Irvine
“Tracing the Modŏn Ppoi: Bodies of Consumption and Hysteria in Colonial Korea”

7:30 – 7:50
Debbie Chan, PhD Candidate, Department of Asian Studies, University of Western Australia
“The Modern (Girl’s) Boy: Negotiating Power in the Moga Mobo Dynamic”

7:50 – 8:10
Gregory M. Pflugfelder, Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures & Department of History, Columbia University
“The Yoyo Boy: Between Metropolitan and Colonial Masculinities”


8:10 – 8:25
Mark Driscoll, Associate Professor, Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

8:25 – 8:40
Hyaeweol Choi, Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family and Korea Foundation Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of Iowa

8:40 – 8:55
Barbara Sato, Professor Emerita, Faculty of Humanities, Seikei University

8:55 – 9:45
General Discussion

* Equivalent times for other time zones:

Chicago – Friday & Saturday, 6:00–8:45 PM
Los Angeles – Friday & Saturday, 4:00–6:45 PM

Seoul/Tokyo– Sunday 20, February, 9:00 – 11:45 AM
Honolulu – Friday & Saturday, 2:00–4:45 PM
Sydney – Saturday & Sunday, 10:00 AM–12:45 PM
Hong Kong / Perth – Saturday & Sunday, 8:00–10:45 AM

London – Saturday & Sunday, midnight–2:45 AM
Berlin / Paris / Rome – Saturday & Sunday, 1:00–3:45 AM

Co-sponsored by the Academy of Korean Studies, Seoul, Korea; Columbia Alumni Association, Korea; the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture (Columbia); the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (Columbia); the Hajime Mori Chair in Japanese Language and Literature at the University of California, San Diego; Transnational Korean Studies (UCSD); and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute (Columbia).


February 19, 2021
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:

Center for Korean Research