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Christine Hong: Guest editor’s introduction: The Unending Korean War

Abstract:

As an introduction to the special issue of positions: asia critique on the unending Korean War, this opening essay calls critical attention to the war’s temporal contours, shifting focus from the question of the Korean War’s origins that bedeviled Korean studies throughout the Cold War to the unsettling question of why the Korean War, in our ostensibly post–Cold War moment, is still not over. This introduction highlights how the image-essays, critical analyses, and interview assembled in this issue, in challenging the war’s standard 1950–53 periodization, examine the war’s persistence in multiple, often overlooked modalities that call for critical and innovative interpretive practice. Against the fog of received historiography on the Korean War, the essays in this collection, by variously questioning the integrity of state-sponsored accounts of the “truth” of the war, call much-needed attention to the Korean War’s legacies, its undertheorized afterlives, and its oblique yet telling ongoing manifestations.


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