Han Sang Kim is a historical sociologist whose fields of research include Cold War governmentality in East Asia, Korean and East Asian film history, and cultural history of mobilities. He received his PhD degree from Seoul National University with his dissertation, “Uneven Screens, Contested Identities: USIS, Cultural Films, and the National Imaginary in South Korea, 1945-1972.” His dissertation examines America’s film propaganda activities towards South Korea during the Cold War with the focus on the U.S. Army Signal Corps, U.S. Information Service (USIS), and U.N. Korean Reconstruction Agency (UNKRA). Since Korea’s liberation from Japan in 1945, these American-led agencies engaged in long-term propaganda activities through film. Local filmmakers were hired by America’s government agencies and served as messengers of the “free world” screen, yet they simultaneously recognized themselves as the builders of their nation as well as individual artists in and of themselves. This research explores the contested self-identities of the postwar Korean filmmakers in the historical context of the Cold War tension and propaganda making. Dr. Kim is currently expanding this project into a book manuscript on a comparative cultural history of the postwar division system in East Asia, notably Taiwan, South Korea, and Okinawa.
Another of his concurrent projects concerns the association between cinema and transportation mobility in twentieth-century Korea, based on his predoctoral research. It examines the ways in which cinematic visuality was associated with modernity and transportation, not only in diverse and discrete forms such as railroads, motor-roads, and motorized vehicles, but also in connection with the newly-established rules and restrictions and a new culture of mobility that accompanies it. He is currently finalizing a manuscript on this topic to complete as his first book in English.
He worked as a cinematheque programmer for the Korean Film Archive for over four years. He is the author of the book, Choguk kŭndaehwa rŭl yuram hagi: Pak Chŏng-hŭi chŏngkwŏn hongbo dŭraibŭ, P’aldogangsan 10-yŏn [Sightseeing Modernization of the Fatherland: P’aldogangsan, 10 Years of Propaganda for the Park Chung-Hee Regime] (Korean Film Archive, 2007), and several articles, including “My Car Modernity: What the U.S. Army Brought to South Korean Cinematic Imagination about Modern Mobility” in The Journal of Asian Studies and “Cold War and the Contested Identity Formation of Korean Filmmakers: On Boxes of Death and Kim Ki-yŏng’s USIS Films” in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. His most recent publication can be found in the Fall 2017 issue of The Journal of Korean Studies, titled “Film Auteurism as a Cold War Governmentality: Alternative Knowledge and the Formation of Liberal Subjectivity.” Dr. Kim has developed and taught a number of courses on modern Korean and East Asian culture at UC San Diego, Boston University, and Rice University.
Kim Seung-ho: Face of Father, Portrait of Korean Cinema
Han Sang Kim, Gil Sung Lee and Young Min Kong
The Palgrave Handbook of Mass Dictatorship
Paul Corner and Jie-Hyun Lim (editors)