Performing the Korean diaspora
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Inspired by the recent growth of interest in the United States for Asian American drama and dramatists, this dissertation investigates nine contemporary Korean American theater and performance works that depict the diasporic experience and identity—works that also express Korean cultures, history, and memory both in the United States and South Korea. Rooted in the interdisciplinary realm (Theater and Performance Studies, Women’s Studies, Critical Adoption Studies, Asian American Studies, and Korean Studies), this study reveals how the Korean diaspora is configured, diversified, and complicated within performance spaces, as performing bodies remap the actual experience, history, and imagination of immigration as well as transnational adoption. My argument is that the performances of the Korean diaspora constitute a site of liminal belonging that not only transgresses the ethnic and national demarcations, but also transforms the politics of identity in the twenty-first century. Delving into the experiences of Korean diasporic families, women, and adoptees embodied in theater and performance, this research thus contends that liminal belonging of the Korean diaspora intersects with, and incorporates, the social constructs of race, class, gender, sexuality, citizenship, and kinship in such a way as to restructure and reimagine the meanings of society and community across the Pacific.
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