“Presenting Korea’s Past: Melodrama, Spectacle, and Democracy in Post-2000 Historical Films” examines the revival of the cinematic genre of sagŭk in South Korea in the 2000s. The diegesis of sagŭk film portrays premodern dynastic eras of Korea. This project analyzes the evolution of the genre by genealogically tracing its rise and fall and investigates determinants of the genre’s consequential comeback since the new millennium. Built upon film scholar Linda Williams’ exposition of “a space of innocence” and Rick Altman’s genre theory, this dissertation argues that a powerful nostalgic imagination of innocence exists within the genre and suggests that the newly articulated innocence is one of the determinants of the revival of genre. However, the specific nature of innocence and how it is delivered varies. This dissertation demonstrates that because of an intensification of globalization and resistance to late capitalism, innocence is less associated with nationhood and national identity but more associated with a universalistic and utopian way of existing within a collective community. “Presenting Korea’s Past” concludes that the genre is a site of constant struggle among the producing powers and consumers and that the spectators are the main agents of the genre’s transformation.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. October 2020. Major: East Asian Studies. Advisor: Travis Workman. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 203 pages.
Presenting Korea's Past: Melodrama, Spectacle, and Democracy in Post-2000 Historical Films.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.