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Social Science and Public Policy

The DMZ’s Pasts and Futures

October 21, 2021 at 2:00pm3:30pm EDT

Virtual (See event details)

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Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

East Asia Program presents


The DMZ’s Pasts and Futures 

The DMZ, uninhabited since the signing of the 1953 Armistice Agreement, is internationally recognized as an ecological haven of biodiversity. In fact, every South Korean president since the 1980s has announced plans to build a peace park in the DMZ. Beginning in the 1990s, with new openings in interKorean detente, the DMZ was framed as both a potential vehicle for peace and a potential victim as the two Koreas pursued mutual cooperation and “peace and prosperity.” This talk discusses the material and symbolic value of the DMZ’s ecology in the current context of climate crisis and political crisis.

Eleana Kim
Associate Professor of Anthropology, UC Irvine

Eleana Kim is a sociocultural anthropologist and Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies at University of California, Irvine. Her first book Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging (Duke University Press, 2010), examined the world’s longest and largest transnational adoption program and the experiences of adult adopted Koreans and their relationships to their birth country and the South Korean state. It received book awards from the Association for Asian Studies and the Association for Asian American Studies. Her second book, Making Peace with Nature: Ecological Encounters Along the Korean DMZ (Duke University Press, 2022), is an ethnographic study of the South Korean borderlands centered on the production of the DMZ’s ecological value.

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This event was first published on September 27, 2021 and last updated on September 29, 2021.

Event Details