• Event
  • Spain

Classics Symposium and Special Lecture

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  • Period
    11/02/2017 to 11/03/2017
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The Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea, President: Kim Seong-Kon, professor Emeritus at Seoul National University) held a Korean Classics Symposium and a special lecture in Málaga, Spain, from November 2 to 3.


On the Morning of November 2, Korean author Lim Chulwoo gave a special lecture to 3rd year students at the Korean Studies Department at the University of Málaga. The author discussed his short story ‘The Red Room’ and explained how he came to write it, and spoke about the themes he wished to express in the work. Students asked many questions at the event, showcasing the great interest locals have for Korean literature.


The Korean Classics Symposium, titled ‘Shamanism Projected onto Korean Literature’, began on the afternoon of the same day. President Jose Angel Narvaez of the University of Málaga began the proceedings with opening remarks that celebrated the cultural exchanges between Korea and Spain. Lim gave an address as well, representing the speakers at the symposium.


This symposium was held for the purpose of introducing Korean shamanism to European and American scholars of Korean studies, and for hosting in-depth discussion on the influence and presence of shamanism in Korean literature.


During the first session, Professor Guido Rings of Anglia Ruskin University spoke on the topic of ‘Shamans in Hispanic Oral Tradition’. He was followed by Professor Hyun Seon Lee of SOAS, whose presentation was titled ‘Shamanism in Korean Cinema’. Professor Antonio Domenech of the Department of Korean Studies at the University of Málaga participated as a discussant.


The first day of the symposium ended off on a high note with a traditional Korean gut ceremony, held at the Auditorio Eduardo Ocón outdoor stage in the heart of the city. Female shaman Jeong Sun-deok gave a two-hour performance, wishing health and peace upon the audience and Spain. Over 200 people filled the seats, captivated by the traditional ceremony. After the performance, audience members stood hand-in-hand and danced on stage, and partook in the sacred foods and drinks used in the ceremony. The gut was a meaningful event where locals had the chance to personally experience a slice of Korean tradition.


The second session of the symposium was held the next morning, with presentations by Professor Antonio Domenech and Lim Chulwoo. Professor Domenech spoke on the topic of shamanism as seen in ‘Princess Bari’, while Lim spoke about the role of Korean shamanism in his own works, emphasizing that he was using his own novels as a way to dream. The discussion was led by Dong-kyu Kim, Senior Researcher at the Institute for the Study of Religions at Sogang University.


 Professor Antonetta Bruno of the Sapienza University of Rome, literary critic Ryoo Bo Sun, Professor Michael Pettid of Binghampton University, and Professor Dong-kyu Kim of Sogang University spoke at the third session. Professor Bruno discussed the depiction of shamans and spirits in ‘Eou yadam’, and Ryoo gave a presentation titled ‘Three Perspectives on Shamanism—Shamanism in Modern Korean Literature, and Lim Chulwoo’. Professor Pettid led the discussions that followed.


In the final session, Professor Michael Pettid gave a presentation titled ‘Spiritual and Shamanistic Worldviews on Death and the Afterlife’, introducing the various gwisin, or spirits, in Korean classics. Professor Dong-kyu Kim spoke on the theme of ‘Shamanism and Religion in Korea’, discussing the role of shamanism in modern-day Korea. The discussion at this session was led by Professor Antonetta Bruno.


At this symposium, faculty from the University of Málaga acted as moderators and participants, with an author, a literary critic, and anthropologists giving their input as speakers or discussants to introduce Korean literature to participants. At the same time, symposium participants were particularly satisfied with the deep insight into Korean shamanism provided at the sessions.


The 2017 Korean Classics Symposium in Málaga concluded with a reading event by performers from Spanish acting troupe ‘Mu teatro’. They presented an adaptation of the Korean short story <Munyeodo (Portrait of the Shaman)> by Kim Tong-ni, titled ‘La Chamana Mohwa’, or ‘Mohwa the Shaman’. The adaptation was set in the modern day, and provided a glimpse into the way Spanish readers perceived Korean shamanism.


The special lecture at the University of Málaga and the symposium showed how much interest and passion students had for Korean literature, and the performances were a wonderful opportunity to showcase Korean literature and culture to local audiences. LTI Korea looks forward to actively cooperating and partaking in exchanges with the University of Málaga to further introduce Korean literature to Spanish students and readers.


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