This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with Brendan Wright. They speak about the Korean Civil War period (1948-1960), the government orchestrated massacres of Leftist groups, the significant events that occurred in Jeju, Kyongju and Kochang, the national scale of this violence, its coordination from the Syngman Rhee administration, the silencing and repression of the victims and their families, the fight of victims’ groups to achieve justice, the ways in which the dead have had their identities smeared, the pressure and violence that victims’ groups have had to endure over the years, the historical re-imagining of this period, the political motivations behind this type of historical memory, the limitations of this movement for recognition, and the ways in which this history is still affecting Korean society today.
Brendan Wright is currently the Korea Foundation Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto. He completed his PhD at the University of British Columbia in 2016. He is working on completing his manuscript “Civil War, Politicide, and the Politics of Memory in South Korea, 1948-1961”. His work has been published in Cross Currents, The Asia Pacific Journal, Verso and by Routledge. Pertinent to this podcast, Brendan is the author of: ‘Raising the Korean War Dead: Bereaved Family Associations and the Politics of 1960-1961 South Korea’ (https://apjjf.org/-Brendan-Wright/4387) and ‘Politicidal Violence and the Problematics of Localized Memory at Civilian Massacre Sites: The Cheju 4.3 Peace Park and the Kŏch'ang Incident Memorial Park’ (https://cross-currents.berkeley.edu/e-journal/issue-14/wright).
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