Notes on 'Race': Decoloniality in Praxis (Lee, 2021)
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Taking cue from Walsh and Mignolo’s concept of decoloniality, this paper presents an experiment and exploration in Korean Thought to think ‘race’. It is a snapshot of an ongoing project of thinking/living decolonially to contribute to the growing literature that challenges the imperial status of Western Thought. The aim is not to call for cancellation nor indict a sense of morality to those who engage with what is conventionally offered in Western academic institutions. Instead, the goal is to participate in an exercise of epistemological considerations through the use of thought paradigms considered ‘Subaltern’, of the global South, indigenous, of the ‘margins’; namely that of ‘Other’ to the Western intellectual tradition. It effect, Western thought is displaced from the pedestal of the ‘universal’ and laid amongst a constellation of many thought systems. There are three expositions presented in this paper. First, the concept ‘race’ under Western episteme is examined. ‘Race’ is defined as the imposition of subject-object relation through the colonial power matrix. The ways in which this relation manifest is traced on structural and psychosomatic levels using the particular example of ‘Asians’ coded under the ideology of Yellow Peril in Aotearoa and more broadly, the West. The second and third chapters offer ‘decolonial alternatives’ through which the subject-object relation can be transcended. Korean concepts of 인 (仁), ‘in’, is used to rethink ontology, and ‘habitus of 한 (韓);(恨), “han”’, for the exposition of decoloniality that is already in praxis. In sum, the paper calls for those who are racialised to locate ourselves in the spheres of liberation and sovereignty, one which can be done through tracing the thoughts of ancestors particular to one’s whakapapa (cultural lineage). Through claiming this thinking/doing/living, the capacity to hold multiplicities, differences, and orientation towards expansion can be accessed.
Double/d Consciousness: The Korean Migrant and the Politics of (Re)naming (Lee, 2018)
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Theorised by W. E. B. Du Bois (1903/2007), double consciousness is an experience of internal conflict fraught with contradicting desires and fears in which oppressed subjects perceive themselves through the lens of the dominant oppressor as well as their own. Whilst conceptualised in reference to the African American experience, its application in literature has been broad; to describe experiences of various marginalised communities, in particular, in the field of race, ethnicity and gender (Gilroy, 1993; Reed, 1992; Martinez, 2002; Wallace, 2002). This paper focuses on the experience of double consciousness among Korean migrants, looking at the practice of choosing English names upon migration to Anglophone nations. Contextualised through a socio-historical account of linguistic imperialism in both the Japanese colonial era of Korea (1910-1945) and in the colonisation of the settler societies in which Korean migrants are situated, their relation to language becomes the main site of investigation. The aim of this paper is to challenge the narrative of domination implicit in double consciousness and offer a subversive reading in which it can be read as a path to agency. Drawing on Lacanian psychoanalysis, the paper argues that: (1) double consciousness allows for the awareness of ‘extimacy of self’ inherent in all subjects who exist through language, and (2) that this is a necessary realisation in the process towards Lacanian subjectivity, a position of agency that is radically different from agency found in ego psychology. In doing so, I reformulate double consciousness to ‘double/d consciousness’ as such experience is one that doubles the awareness of our relation to language. In closing, the paper offers practical implications of the argument in context of name use and contend for ambiguous, rather than ambivalent, ‘play’ with both signifiers, the English and the Korean names.
Yellow and More: Exploring Racial, Ethnic and National Identity as a 1.5 Generation Korean New Zealander (Lee, 2016)
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This autoethnographic essay continues and explores my long-standing curiosities about my own racial, ethnic and national identity. Throughout the essay, I narrate a story from the past then analyse the experiences using key concepts of identity discourse to gain a better understanding of the past. First, I examine my racial identity using social ascription and meaning to make sense of its construction. Second, my ethnic identity is analysed using Cornell and Hartmann’s constructionist approach as well as an observation in my own discourse shift from essentialism to hybridity. Lastly, my national identity is analysed using ideas of ethnicity-based nationhood and transnationalism, along with a critical interrogation of my asserted and assigned position within the power relations of ethnic and national identity in Aotearoa New Zealand. I conclude the essay by relating Stephen Maturin’s quote on identity to my own sentiments about the dynamic nature of identity construction.
[ARTICLE] The 1.5 Generation, RNZ News (Lee, 2018)
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Interview-based article published in RNZ about the experience of being 1.5 generation migrants in Aotearoa. Stories of identity, being between cultures, racial othering, and also, ways through which these complexities can be thought of as something positive; ways we can heal through building connections to our communities.
[INTERVIEW] The 1.5 Generation, The Breakfast Show (Lee, 2018)
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Based on the article published on RNZ, an interview on TVNZ's Breakfast hosted by Jack Tame and Hayley Holt. The story was picked up by a producer who, himself, was a 1.5 gen migrant and pitched it to be on the show. It highlighted to me the importance of diversity in all industries to amplify minority experiences.
Ethnic Women in New Zealand Politics (2020-2023)
Funded by Royal Society of New Zealand, Ethnic Women in New Zealand Politics (EWP) is a 3-year research project uniquely ‘about and by’ ethnic women. The research aims to examine lived realities of women in NZ politics who are non-Pākehā, non-Māori and non-Pasifika, addressing the complex intersections between gender, ethnicity, culture and politics in Aotearoa's bicultural and multi-ethnic democracy.
Online interventions for reducing hate speech and radicalization: A systematic review (2020-)
Funded by the US Department of Homeland Security, this project looks to carry out a systemic review of literature on hate speech and radicalisation online, as well as potential interventions that have been proposed to date. Carried out in collaboration with Temple University (US) and the department of criminology, University of Auckland.
The Future is Feminine: Capitalism and the Masculinity Disorder (2021)
Drawing on Marxist and psychoanalytic theories, Ciara Cremin's book offers a diagnosis of masculinity as a disorder of under capitalism and imagines how we can overcome it through embracing femininity.