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Intercultural Memories

Contesting Places, Spaces, and Stories


Edited By Ahmet Atay, Yea-Wen Chen and Alberto González

Collective remembering is an important way that communities name and make sense of the past. Places and stories about the past influence how communities remember the past, how they try to preserve it, or in some cases how they try to erase it. The research in this book offers key insights into how places and memories intersect with intercultural conflicts, oppressions, and struggles by which communities make sense of, deal with, and reconcile the past. The authors in this book examine fascinating stories from important sites—such as international commemorations of Korean “Comfort Women,” a film representation of the Stonewall Riots, and remembrances of the post-communist state in Albania. By utilizing various critical and cultural studies and ethnographic and narrative-based methods, each chapter examines cultural memory in intercultural encounters, everyday experiences, and identity performances that evoke collective memories of colonial pasts, immigration processes, and memories of places and spaces that are shaped by power structures and clashing ideologies. This book is essential reading for understanding the links between space/place and cultural memory, memories of nationally, and places constituted by markers of ethnicity, race, and sexuality. These readings are especially useful in courses in intercultural communication, cultural studies, international studies, and peace and conflict studies.
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2. (Be)Coming Home: Transformative Places and Koreamerican Identity in Itaewon, South Korea



Central Washington University


Bowling Green State University

The transnational movements of people, information, and economy that have affected South Korean culture on various levels reveal a new transformative space in which Korean identity discourse is increasingly complicated. In communication studies, scholarship on space and place has flourished for the last two decades. Many studies explore how identities are constructed through spatial means of communication (Clark, 2004; Dickinson, 1997; Enck-Wanzwer, 2011; Ewalt, 2011; Gallagher & LaWare, 2010). The symbolic and material elements of spatial rhetoric are articulated in examinations of memorials, museums, and monuments (Halloran & Clark, 2006; Zagacki & Gallagher, 2009). The purview of these rhetorical studies extends to urban sites and landscapes (Clark, 2004; Dickinson, 2015; Fleming 2008; Lee, 2015). Our goal in this study is to reveal urban spaces as socially constructed environments within which intercultural encounters circulate (Lee, 2015). Particularly in an effort to comprehend the changing identity discourses in South Korean culture, we direct our attention to the intercultural urban environment in which a range of identities are performed and interact. We argue that Koreamericans (people born in the U.S. who are of Korean heritage) uniquely valorize and disrupt the notion of Han minjok (one Korean identity) through the transformative spatial and material rhetorics performed in Mexican food restaurants in Seoul. Our focus is Itaewon, the distinctive multicultural district in Seoul, South Korea, known for its global openness and its...

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