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Suzy Kim
Rutgers University, New Brunswick (New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8559)
Women Behind the Iron Curtain: A Cultural History of North Korea

Research leading to publication of a scholarly article and book on the role of women and the significance of gender in North Korea during the Cold War.

This project examines the role of women and the significance of gender in North Korea during the Cold War. Rather than duplicating histories of the Cold War as a masculine battle of political acumen, this research emphasizes the affective dimensions of power and dominance of feminine tropes as key to understanding North Korea. Women proved to be the primary cultural icons, and feminine tropes became models for emulation throughout society. If the construction of modern citizenship has always been a gendered process of delineating appropriate masculine and feminine roles in service of the state, this project explores how North Korean women (and men) were mobilized throughout the Cold War as sacrificial mothers. While there are parallel sacrificial women in other contexts, North Korean developments were unprecedented in the ascription of motherhood to men to create a new model of militarized citizenship that was at once masculine and feminine, drawing on transnational Cold War cultures.

Project fields:
Cultural History; East Asian History; Gender Studies

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 12/31/2016