Reminder: Call for Papers - Korean Popular Cinema and Television in the 21st Century

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Call for Submissions to a Special Issue for Journal of Popular Film and Television

Korean Popular Cinema and Television in the 21st Century


Edited by Jihoon Kim, Dept. of Film Studies, Chung-ang University, South Korea


During the last several years, both Korean cinema and Korean television dramas (and K-pop tracks/stars as well, to be sure) have gained not simply dramatically increased popularity beyond the Pan-Asian scope of the first ‘Korean wave (hallyu)’ (across North and South Americas and Europe), but also critical attention in the academia of cinema studies, cultural studies, and East Asian/Korean studies. Despite these situations, previous studies on Korean cinema and television have highlighted only a limited set of texts: despite a couple of recent edited collections dedicated to nationally popular genre films such as horror and film noir, most scholarly writings on Korean cinema have still privileged films directed by so-called ‘auteurs’ (Kim Ki-duk, Hong Sang-soo, Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho, and Lee Chang-dong) that were already established in global film culture and academia, thus leaving unexamined a series of popular Korean films that have not simply had enormous commercial success in the domestic box office but also had notable cultural influences on Korean audiences’ collective desire, historical imaginary, and optical unconscious. Likewise, most of the existing studies on Korean television have discussed only a few canonical television dramas in the first Korean wave era. The academia’s failure to catch up with the rapidly growing popularity of Korean network and cable television programs on both domestic and transnational levels has left to be uncharted territories many important key cultural texts during the last few years. These include recent television dramas that enjoyed either domestic critical attention (for instance, the Reply series [1997, 1994, 1988], Misaeng (2014), and Signal [2016]) or transnational spectatorship and stardom (for instance, My Love from the Star [2013-4] and Descendants of the Sun [2016]), as well as various reality TV programs across different formats and subjects (Infinity Challenge, Running Men, music competition shows [Superstar K, K-Pop Star, Show Me the Money, Un-pretty Rap Star, and Produce 101], and Food/Cooking TV programs).

This special issue of Journal of Popular Film and Television aims to fill these wide vacancies in the current scholarship of Korean cinema and television studies, thereby expanding its scope into critical investigations of the previously unexamined key texts and genres, their relations to Korea’s social, political, and cultural contexts, and their transnational appeals from industrial and cultural perspectives. Possible topics include, but not are limited to:

- Genre conventions and their subversion/mixture (the films of Bong Joon-ho, Ryu Seung-wan, Kim Ji-woon, and Na Hong-jin)

- Recent Korean film noir/thriller movies and their treatment of the society’s political and economic antinomies (New World [2013], Veteran [2015], Inside Men [2015])

- Social reality dramas or films based on the true story (Silenced [2011], The Attorney [2013], Han Gong-ju [2013])

- Recent Korean blockbuster films, their (CGI) technology/aesthetics/pleasures (Thieves [2012], Roaring Currents [2014], Ode to My Father [2014])

- Historical films/costume dramas and their historical imaginary, including the imagery of the colonial/postcolonial history (Masquerade [2012], Assassination [2015], The Handmaiden [2016])

- Transnational popular films/dramas, including their stardom and industry

- Cultural nostalgia in popular films and TV dramas/reality shows (The Attorney, Ode to My Father, the Reply series, and the television shows [Sugarman (2016), for instance] on the 1990s’ pop music)

- Key recent Korean television dramas, narratives, styles, and their cultural identities (class struggle, gender, sexuality, religion, generational difference, Pan-Asian identity)

- Korean reality TV programs across different genres and formats (including music competition shows and Food/cooking TV)

- Korean TV’s spreadability, transnational impacts and participatory fan culture

The CFP encourages a variety of academic, historical, critical, analytical, and theoretical approaches, as well as submissions from authors in the popular press. Submissions should be limited to twenty-five pages, double-spaced, and conform to MLA style. Please include a fifty-word abstract and five to seven key words to facilitate online searches. Send an electronic copy no later than June 30, 2017 to Jihoon Kim (

For more information on the journal and its style, please see