Class Year

2016

Access Type

Vassar Community Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Media Studies Program

First Advisor

Sophia Harvey

Second Advisor

Seungsook Moon

Abstract

In Tangled Memories: The Vietnam War, the Aids Epidemic, and the Politics of Remembering, Marita Sturken discusses the shaping of cultural memory in the U.S. in the context of the Vietnam War and the AIDS epidemic. She writes that “cultural memory is a field of cultural negotiation through which different stories vie for a place in history.” Sturken discusses how different agents, such as the State, filmmakers, television broadcast networks, etc., and their interactions with one another shape a cultural meaning. Each agent plays a role in shaping cultural memory by partaking in this, but some, such as the State, have more power than others to influence which narrative will dominate the cultural memory of that society. This reveals the political nature of cultural memory, for whoever has more power is able to control which narratives will become the dominant ones, and influence which narratives will be remembered more by a group/country. Taking Sturken’s definition of cultural memory as my broader theoretical framework and applying it to the context of concerns regarding “comfort women” in South Korea, my thesis examines how different agents, specifically the government, the television networks/producer, the “comfort women” themselves, and the filmmaker Byun Young-joo participate as agents in the shaping of cultural memory regarding “comfort women” narratives, through the “field of cultural negotiations.”

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