SOAS University of London

Centre of Korean Studies

The Territorialization of Memory: The Making of Place of Memory for the Sewol Ferry Accident

Prof. Hae Ran Shin (Seoul National University)

Date: 3 June 2017Time: 1:00 PM

Finishes: 3 June 2017Time: 3:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4429

Type of Event: Seminar


This study looks at the process of place-of-memory making regarding the Sewol Ferry disaster through the concept of ‘the territorialization of memory.’ Based on archival analyses, in-depth interviews, and site visits, the research investigates the formation process of memory classes in Danwon High School, Gwanghwamun Plaza, and a place of memory in Jeju. It focuses on the three aspects of the territorialization of memory, including occupancy of materialized conversion of memory, actors’ occupancy and conflicts, and the expansion of territory through dark tourism. The results of this study are as follows. First, the memory became territorialized through the materials victim students used in their daily lives. Main actors such as recording activists and victims’ parents engaged in a discourse competition with other parents on the right to study. As a result of the conflict, the memory became de-territorialized. Second, the Gwanghwamun Plaza represents a case of political territorialization of memory through actors’ physical occupancy. Victims’ parents and supportive citizens territorialized the memory by occupying the public space. Conservative organization members and the police sent by the national government attempted to dissolve the occupancy, and the Seoul government supported the occupancy by permitting the victims’ parents and citizens to do it. Third, the memory became re-territorialized by leaving the Korean peninsula for an alternative place, Jeju. The re-territorialization of memory was dependent on a network of cultural migrants, victims of national disasters, and tourists. This research contributes to the understanding of the spatial politics of memory and suggests policy implications on memory places associated with the Sewol Ferry accident.

Speaker Biography

HaeRan Shin focuses on examining the politics of key actors in various development cases, including culture-led  urban regeneration ,places-of-memory, new towns, and risk perception. She also works on the issues of transnational migrants and their receiving communities. She used to teach in the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London, and she started teaching in the Department of Geography at Seoul National University in South Korea beginning September 2013.

Other Participants

This seminar also comprises a visual presentation of the Sewol Ferry disaster by the Korean illustrator cyin juuk and a report on the investigation by the family members of the disaster, Jisung Lee (Director of the 416 Memory Archive; Mother of Doeon from Danwon High School 2nd grade, class #3) and Soongil Kim (Committee member of the 416 Memory Archive; Mother of Yoonhee from Danwon High School 2nd grade, class #9).

Organiser: CKS/Remembering Sewol UK

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